A recent whitepaper from Grodan discusses growing media and the efficient use of nutrients.
One of the 15 global challenges formulated by the Millenium project is “How can population growth and resources be brought into balance?" One aspect of this challenge is improving the use efficiency of the global resources e.g. nutrients. These nutrients, e.g. phosphorus, potassium and others, are just as important to agriculture as water.
For example, a lack of availability and accessibility of phosphorus is an emerging problem that threatens our capacity to feed the global population. Furthermore, the production of fertilizers is a large energy consumer, accounting for about a third of energy consumption in US crop production.
Nutrient efficiency in soil-based cultivations is often below 50%, meaning that less than 50% of the applied fertilizers are taken up by the crop. This low nutrient use efficiency may be attributed to fertilizer overuse and high nutrient loss resulting from inappropriate timing and methods of fertilizer application.
Improved nutrient and irrigation management can reduce these losses significantly, but it will not be completely overcome. In principle, soilless cultivation systems can obtain zero nutrient losses, because the nutrient solutions are recirculated.
Read more here, in the whitepaper.