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Eutrophication is one of the challengeable global environmental problems driven by excessive nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) released to the ecosystem from various sources, mainly from fertilizer application in agricultural production systems. The life cycle assessment framework was applied to assess aquatic eutrophication potential associated with fertilizers applied in maize production in Thailand. The emissions were quantified by applying widely used updated inventory models, Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCR) and European Monitoring and Evaluation Program/European Environmental Agency (EMEP/EEA) (2019). The characterization factors were obtained from the characterization model, IMPACT World+. Based on the midpoint level analysis, the total marine eutrophication potential from fertilizers applied in maize cultivation in 2019 was 26,514,965 kg N N-lim equivalent, while the total freshwater eutrophication potential was 50,175 kg PO43- P-lim equivalent. The highest marine and freshwater eutrophication potentials were from Phetchabun province, while the lowest from Surin province. Nitrate emission has the highest contribution to the marine eutrophication potential at regional, provincial and country levels, followed by ammonia and nitrogen dioxide emissions. The only emission that contributes to the freshwater eutrophication potential in this study was phosphorous. The northern region has the highest contribution to the highest marine and freshwater eutrophication potentials. The results of damage level impact assessment revealed that the ecosystem damage from aquatic eutrophication potential is greater in the northern region and lower in the central region. The ecosystem damage from marine and freshwater eutrophication potentials was 331,800,510 PDF. m2. year with the high contribution (99.8%) of marine eutrophication potential. Phetchabun was the highly contributed province to the ecosystem damage while the lowest was Surin province. These results shall be useful for the policymakers and researchers to develop the regulations to initiate emission reduction plans. The analysis of emission reduction pathways found that the 4R (right source, right rate, right time and right place) nutrient management practice would be the best and effective way to reduce the eutrophication impacts on the environment in the context of Thailand compared to the other three approaches; changing fertilizer types, fertilizer spreading techniques and the use of inhibitors/soluble salts.
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