By Dr. Chris Underwood, Chemist and Product Development Manager
For over 30 years, AgroLiquid has used the same plant-derived polymer in our Flavonol Polymer Technology for a number of uses. We use this plant-derived technology to slowly release nitrogen to the crop, encapsulate polyphosphate to prevent tie-up, and chelate nutrients to allow for better crop uptake. This molecule had remained unchanged…until now.
AgroLiquid has now developed Targeted Molecular Expression, which gives us the ability to perform chemistries on this polymer to create a new generation of products. By targeting a part of the molecule and expressing it with new structural features, we can change the release rate of nitrogen, improve the storability of liquid phosphorus, and improve the chelation of nutrients in more extreme soil pH, among other feats.
Phosphorus is a nutrient that is critical for early plant development in a crop as well as in the reproductive stages. AgroLiquid commits considerable resources to providing answers on managing this nutrient. We apply phosphorus fertilizer products to a wide variety of crops and in just about every method imaginable.
The mismanagement of phosphorus has come under scrutiny in recent years. Phosphorus can travel with any soil that is moved via wind or water. AgroLiquid’s philosophy on sustainable agriculture is to generate the maximum crop response from minimum applications of fertilizer. Phosphorus, once applied to the soil, can suffer many fates other than plant uptake. There are many elements in the soil, such as iron, calcium, and aluminum, which can combine with phosphorus and prevent it from reaching its intended destination of being transported into the plant. Recent studies have also shown that phosphate is mobile in soil water, allowing for movement through leaching or drainage. AgroLiquid’s Flavonol Polymer Technology encapsulates the polyphosphate in our phosphorus products, allowing this nutrient to be protected until the plant is ready to absorb it. Since the polymer is plant-derived, it can be broken down by soil microbes to slowly release phosphate units from the long-chain polyphosphate, minimizing soil tie-up and leaching.
This results in very high efficiency of use at low rates. For example, many years of field studies show that Pro-Germinator (9-24-3) has the performance of 10-13 lbs. of phosphorus per gallon, while it has 2.69 lbs. of actual phosphorus per gallon. Our technology allows the plant to receive needed nutrition more efficiently than conventional dry and liquid fertilizers. As the nutrient reaches the intended destination in the plant, the phosphorus isn’t subject to movement from the cropping environment through erosion or leaching.