Nitrogen-producing microbes could solve Corn Belt’s environmental woes


In San Francisco, Pivot Bio Advances is beta testing the first sustainable source of nitrogen for corn. The field trial plants  receive nitrogen daily from Pivot Bio’s proprietary and field-tested microbes.

“We are hitting all of the milestones critical to delivering a beta product into the marketplace,” said Karsten Temme, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Pivot Bio. “The preliminary data highlights strong product performance in the field. We are poised to provide corn growers with the first clean alternative to synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.”

Chemical nitrogen has been a mainstay of agriculture for a century, but there are negative environmental effects. The nitrogen can end up in the air and waterways.

“To slow or even reverse air and water pollution caused by synthetic fertilizer, farmers must have new tools as quickly as possible,” said Temme. “The industry has been working to develop self-fertilizing cereal crops like corn, wheat and rice for nearly 50 years. For the first time, Pivot Bio is making this possible. Our rivers and lakes cannot wait another 50 years for a clean alternative to today’s fertilizer.”

Pivot Bio’s nitrogen-producing microbes are applied at the time the corn crop is planted and grow along the root system of the corn, delivering nitrogen daily to the plant. There is no excess chemical nitrogen produced in this process. The beta program is the final step before product is commercially available for use with corn for 2019 planting.