For the last 100 years or so, agriculture has expanded and industrialized exponentially. Heavy machinery now pulls the workload that livestock and human manual labor used to. The name of the game is produce as much as you can per acre and push it out the door as fast as possible. One of the most utilized tools growers and farmers use to increase their yield is Nitrogen. This element is directly responsible for cellular growth and the “green” in plants, generating upwards plant growth so big plants make big yields.However, it is important to understand that not all Nitrogen is created equally. There are superior and inferior forms of Nitrogen, some good and some bad.
But, what’s the difference?
Nitrate: The most common form of Nitrogen is Nitrate Nitrogen. A Nitrogen group derived of 1 Nitrogen molecule and 3 oxygen molecules. Many forms include: calcium nitrate, potassium nitrate, magnesium nitrate, and so on. Plants uptake Nitrate Nitrogen instantly resulting in fast growth rates and high uptake from the plant. The problem is Nitrate Nitrogen has no binding capabilities in the soil, so once you put it down, it either is taken up by the plant or it runs into the water table/rivers. High levels of Nitrates are toxic to mammals and aquatic life.
Ammoniacal: Ammonia/Ammonium-based Nitrogen is also another common form of Nitrogen. This nitrogen consists of 3 – 4 hydrogens and 1 molecule of Nitrogen. Another very quick form of Nitrogen to get taken up by the plant. Drawbacks include volatility in the soil when it is wet and warm. Ammonia heats up, which causes vaporization, and in turn the ammonia harms the microbial population in the soil and impacts plant growth negatively.
Urea: This form of Nitrogen is comprised of 1 molecule of carbon, 1 molecule of Nitrogen, and 2 molecules of hydrogen. Not as volatile as ammonia, urea requires enzymes to release ammoniacal Nitrogen and Nitrate Nitrogen to the soil and into the plant. Urea sticks to the soil, unlike nitrates, and does not volatilize as fast as ammonia. However, when conditions become wet and warm, urea starts to leech and volatilize in the soil. The off-gassing of urea hurts the beneficial microbial populations and creates a slow reaction that persists for days, if not weeks.
Protein-Nitrogen: Amino acids are building blocks to proteins, equipped with peptide bonds and amine groups. Every group of amino acids are a little different, but proteins derived from poultry feathers and soybeans contain large Nitrogen blocks on the amino acids. With the incorporation of protein-based Nitrogen, growers and farmers can have a form of Nitrogen that does not burn or volatilize like Urea or Ammonia.
So, what’s the problem?
Almost all forms of nitrogen in this market is derived from either Urea, Ammonia/Ammonium, and Nitrates, nitrates being the most common. These forms of nitrogen are, indeed, forms that will grow fast plants. However, the environmental impact of these forms of nitrogen are extremely harmful to the land and have led to: excess leaching into the water tables and canals resulting in toxic algae blooms (Nitrates do not stick to soil), and, excess volatility in the soil due to water being present at high temperatures resulting in killing root mass and beneficial microorganisms (Urea and Ammonium)
Cultured Biologix, LLC. has a new form of nitrogen to introduce into the market; Plant Protein Nitrogen. Our form of nitrogen comes from plant proteins, amino acids derived from organic soybeans that have a very large Nitrogen block on the end of each protein molecule. The special enzymatic process breaks apart these proteins and releases readily-available plant-based nitrogen to the plants. These proteins act as carrier molecules as well providing enhanced transport of elements throughout the plants. Our findings have shown, through the addition of plant protein nitrogen, plants are able to uptake more nutrition, increase chlorophyll production, and utilize the 3 different forms of nitrogen in the soil better. And, on contrary to the other 3 forms of nitrogen, plant protein nitrogen increases microbial populations in the soil.
Information provided by Cultured Biologix, LLC.