Helping Crops Make Their Own Fertilizer
Legumes like soybeans and pulses don’t require added nitrogen fertilizer because of the symbiotic relationship the plants have with beneficial microbes that fix nitrogen from the air. But imagine if we could give that same ability to other crops like corn and wheat? Berkeley-based Pivot bio is using biotechnology to do just that. Here’s CEO Karsten Temme.
Temme… “That's the mission we're on at Pivot is use the crop's own microbiome, the microbes in the soil. To supply nutrients, spoonfeed the plant on a daily basis, make better profits for a grower and protect our planet at the same time.”
Temme says they have developed these microbes through synthetic biology, and they have already run on-farm trials with customers throughout the country.
Temme… “We grow up our microbes just like you'd brew a tank of beer or wine. And then we package those microbes up just like you'd have a probiotic in yogurt. And then once that gets to the field, our liquid product is added to the tanks on a planter that that can apply liquid in furrow, as the seeds are planted. And every seed gets a little squirt of microbes on them. And then we let nature take its course and the microbes and plants grow together and symbiosis.”
The company’s first product, Proven, fixes around 25 lbs of nitrogen for corn throughout the growing season. And Temme is hopeful that future products will be able to displace even more nitrogen.