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Agricultural chemistry

The science of chemical compositions and changes involved in the production, protection, and use of crops and livestock. As a basic science, it embraces, in addition to test-tube chemistry, all the life processes through which humans obtain food and fiber for themselves and feed for their animals. As an applied science or technology, it is directed toward control of those processes to increase yields, improve quality, and reduce costs. One important branch of it, chemurgy, is concerned chiefly with utilization of agricultural products as chemical raw materials.

The goals of agricultural chemistry are to expand understanding of the causes and effects of biochemical reactions related to plant and animal growth, to reveal opportunities for controlling those reactions, and to develop chemical products that will provide the desired assistance or control. Every scientific discipline that contributes to agricultural progress depends in some way on chemistry. Hence agricultural chemistry is not a distinct discipline, but a common thread that ties together genetics, physiology, microbiology, entomology, and numerous other sciences that impinge on agriculture.

Chemical materials developed to assist in the production of food, feed, and fiber include scores of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and other pesticides, plant growth regulators, fertilizers, and animal feed supplements. Chief among these groups from the commercial point of view are manufactured fertilizers, synthetic pesticides (including herbicides), and supplements for feeds. The latter include both nutritional supplements (for example, minerals) and medicinal compounds for the prevention or control of disease. Agriculture Fertilizer Herbicide Pesticide Soil

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From McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Environmental Science. The Content is a copyrighted work of McGraw-Hill and McGraw-Hill reserves all rights in and to the Content. The Work is © 2008 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
 
 
 
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