Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. Conservative estimates report 30 to 50% of crop yields are attributed to natural or synthetic commercial fertilizer. European fertilizer market is expected to grow to €15.3 billion by 2018. Mined inorganic fertilizers have been used for many centuries, whereas chemically synthesized inorganic fertilizers were only widely developed during the industrial revolution.
Increased understanding and use of fertilizers were important parts of the pre-industrial British Agricultural Revolution and the industrial Green Revolution of the 20th century. Inorganic fertilizer use has also significantly supported global population growth it has been estimated that almost half the people on the Earth are currently fed as a result of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer use.