Microbial Nitrogen Fertilization

Trial preparation for microbial research
Nutrient Management

Title:  Environmental and agronomic assessment of microbial nitrogen fertilization technologies in corn cropping systems

Location:  Iowa State University Ag Engineering and Agronomy Farm, Boone

Time Period:  2019-present

Research Team:  Steven Hall, Matthew Helmers, William Crumpton, Sotirios Archontoulis, and Michael Castellano

Project Description:  We seek to characterize the potential environmental and agronomic co-benefits of Pivot Bio microbial nitrogen (N) fertilization technologies applied as a partial replacement for synthetic nitrogen fertilizer in corn cropping systems. Microbial N technology has the potential to significantly increase the efficiency of crop N uptake in both space and time. As a consequence of synchronizing reactive N inputs with plant demand and producing this N directly in the plant root zone, we predict that microbial N will be less vulnerable to loss as nitrate or nitrous oxide than an equivalent N mass applied as synthetic fertilizer or manure. To test the impact of microbial N on nitrate leaching, we are using a novel field mesocosm technique whereby intact blocks of soil (5’ x 5’ x 4’) are encased in steel boxes with a single drain. The volume and chemical composition of drainage water is monitored to enable complete measurements of nitrate leaching from each soil block.


Funders:  Iowa Nutrient Research and Education Council (INREC)

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