Exploring SSP and TSP Fertilizers

Single Super Phosphate (SSP) and Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) are two excellent phosphate fertilizers for crop nutrition.

August 22, 2023
4 mins
Patricia Imas

SSP and TSP supply phosphorus, one of the essential plant nutrients required for optimum crop production. Phosphorus is essential for a number of plant metabolic processes, including photosynthesis, energy transfer, and in the synthesis of DNA.

The Quality

ICL’s high-quality TSP and SSP fertilizers deliver readily available phosphorus to support healthy plant growth. A lack of phosphorus impacts critical plant processes, such as photosynthesis and energy transfer and storage, significantly impacting plant growth.

Role of Phosphorus in Plants

Virtually every plant process that involves energy transfer relies on phosphorus. Plant energy is stored and transferred as high-energy phosphate in the form of adenosine diphosphate (ADP) and adenosine triphosphate (ATP), both of which have phosphorus in their structure. ATP and ADP are created during photosynthesis and require phosphorus in their composition.

Phosphorus is also an essential part of DNA. Every aspect of plant growth and development is controlled by the plant’s genes. The genes are contained in strands of DNA which are built on a phosphate backbone. As plants grow, they need to create more cells, and each cell requires its own phosphorus-containing DNA to create the chromosomes stored in the cell nucleus.
But it is not just the DNA of new cells that requires phosphorus. With few exceptions, cellular membranes are made from glycerophospholipids composed of glycerol, a phosphate group, and fatty acid chains, making phosphate essential for plant cell membranes. Seeds are also equipped with a large quantity of phosphorus to provide the essential phosphate young seedlings need during germination and early growth.
The combination of phosphorus role in creating energy, making cell walls, and creating the DNA required for new cells makes phosphorus important for plant development and growth. Phosphorus-deficient plants have smaller total leaf surface areas due to fewer and smaller leaves. Shoot growth and, to a lesser extent, root growth are also impacted, leading to a decrease in the shoot/root dry weight ratio. The reduced root growth also leads to a smaller root mass, restricting the plant’s ability to reach water and nutrients in the soil.

A good phosphorus supply is essential for every stage of the plant growth cycle.

Healthy plants, with an adequate supply of phosphorus, demonstrate superior blooming, and improved fruiting or grain formation, essential for good yields. In addition, plants nourished with sufficient phosphorus generally produce better quality fruit, which tastes better, achieving a better price.

The Origins

Both TSP and SSP are excellent sources of phosphate created from rock phosphate. ICL mines rock phosphate in the Negev desert in Israel. This rock phosphate, formed millions of years ago from marine sediment, is the starting point for ICL TSP fertilizer and ICL SSP fertilizer. The rock phosphate is ground into a powder and combined with an acid to increase the phosphate availability. The choice of acid is where the production of TSP and SSP differs.

TSP Production

ICL TSP fertilizer is created by mixing phosphate rock powder with phosphoric acid. The resulting TSP fertilizer has a high phosphorus concentration with additional calcium, another significant plant nutrient important for various structural roles within plants. TSP from ICL is of a superior quality as it has dustless strong granules with high P2O5 percentage.

The chemical composition of TSP is:

  • 46% P2O5
  • 17% CaO

SSP Production

By contrast, to make SSP, the phosphate rock powder is combined with sulfuric acid to create a fertilizer with phosphorus, calcium, and sulfur with the following composition:

  • 20% P2O5
  • 12% S
  • 31% CaO

ICL’s SSP fertilizer has an excellent quality as it has strong dust-free granules thus providing better handling and application performance, and it has higher P2O5 percentage than other SSP brands.
Once the TSP and SSP have undergone their processing with acid, the final stage is the granulation, compressing the product into uniform, ready-to-use granules.


When we compare the composition of SSP and TSP, we can see that TSP has a higher proportion of phosphorus than SSP. Meanwhile, SSP contains additional sulfur making it ideal if sulfur is deficient in the soil and for crops with high sulfur demands.

TSP has a higher proportion of phosphorus, while SSP contains additional sulfur.

Typical Uses for TSP and SSP

TSP is ideal for legumes where no additional nitrogen is needed and can be broadcast on the soil surface or banded in the soil.
SSP is an ideal non-nitrogen phosphorus fertilizer perfect for leguminous crops such as alfalfa or soybean. SSP is also excellent for pastures used to feed livestock, such as cattle or sheep. The sulfur in SSP encourages the pasture legumes such as clover and alfalfa, increasing the feed value for the cattle and boosting the nitrogen produced by the rhizobia to give the grasses an additional boost. SSP is also well suited for Cruciferae, such as rapeseed, and other crops with a high sulfur demand.

ICL’s Integrated Production

ICL processes its own rock phosphate into TSP and SSP at our energy-efficient Rotem production facility, producing excellent, high-quality phosphorus fertilizers with the added benefit of a lower carbon footprint than many other similar products.

TSP and SSP were among the first high-analysis phosphate fertilizers produced in the 20th century.

TSP and SSP for Your Crops

The result is two excellent phosphate fertilizers. TSP and SSP were among the first high-analysis phosphate fertilizers produced in the 20th century, delivering a reliable source of phosphorus for many generations of farmers. Both fertilizers are suitable for broadcast and banded application and, except for urea and calcium nitrate, can be bulk blended with most other granular fertilizers to create custom formulas ideal for all crop and planting conditions.
ICL’s TSP and SSP fertilizers deliver the reliable, high-quality, highly available phosphorus nutrition for healthy crop growth and yields. Combine this with their environmental credentials, and it is clear why ICL TSP and SSP fertilizers are the right choice for sustainable farming systems.