Sustainability powered by science

Improving nutrient use efficiency through biochemistry

Nitrogen and phosphorus are two nutrients essential to plant health. Although these nutrients exist in the soil and atmosphere, they are often found in a form that is unusable to plants.

Our research has discovered a way to provide more of these nutrients to the plant by harnessing the power of the microbes that already exist in the field.

Tapping into the potential in every field

Fig01 nutrient cycling nature

How microbes and plants communicate

Chemical interactions are constantly taking place between plants and microbes. It’s how they communicate. Plants send chemical signals to microbes, many of which encourage the microbes to be more active.

For some microbes, this increased activity translates into more bioavailable nutrients (like nitrogen and phosphorus) for plants.

an Untapped potential in the soil

Over the past few decades, greater amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus have been applied to the soil, causing plants to rely less on microbes for bioavailable forms of these nutrients.

This has led to a reduction of microbial contributions of nitrogen and phosphorus in many agricultural settings. With over 100 million microbes per gram of soil, there’s a lot of untapped potential to get more out of what nature has provided if we can encourage the microbes to work harder.

Fig02 source enhanced nutrient cycling

SOURCE reactivates nutrient cycling

By mimicking a critical signaling molecule that plants naturally release through their roots, SOURCE wakes up different types of microbes and encourages them to take part in the plant-microbe relationship.

In nature, nutrients and chemicals move from the leaves of the plant to the rootzone through a process called translocation. SOURCE was designed to take advantage of this process, giving growers the ease of applying it as a foliar spray.

  • These bacteria fix atmospheric nitrogen and turn it into a form that plants can use. With SOURCE, nitrogen fixing bacteria become more active, turning atmospheric nitrogen into NH4+ — a form that can be taken in by the plant. Examples of free-living nitrogen fixing bacteria that SOURCE may activate include: azotobacter, nitrosomonas, klebsiella, among others.

  • These microbes solubilize phosphorus that is bound by elements like calcium, aluminum, and iron in the soil. When SOURCE is present, phosphate solubilizing microbes begin to unlock the bound phosphorus, turning it into PO4 — a form that plants can use. Examples of phosphate solubilizing microbes that SOURCE may activate include: bacillus, pseudomonas, aspergillus, and others.

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See how SOURCE improves plant health

Increases in biomass indicates a less stressed, more prolific plant. 

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See how SOURCE improves plant health

Increases in greenness indicates a healthier, less stressed plant.

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See how SOURCE improves plant health

Increases in the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) indicates a less stressed plant.

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See how SOURCE improves plant health

A higher plant senescence reflectance index (PSRI) indicates a more stressed plant.

*Data from lab testing using a multispectral imaging device to scan entire plants.

Demonstrated results: put the soil microbiome to work

In replicated small plot trials, using SOURCE increases yield and improves plant health.

  • nitrogen results
    • 50% increase

      in available n‑fixing bacteria

    • 2x increase

      in n‑fixing activity

    • 16% increase

      in n uptake at harvest

  • phosphorus results
    • 18% increase

      in available p‑solubilizing bacteria

    • 1.7x increase

      in p‑solubilizing activity

    • 20% increase

      in P uptake at harvest

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Differences you can see

When SOURCE is used, in-season visual differences are clear, including higher kernel count and weight, longer and more robust root systems. To the right, a corn plant in Indiana shows a clear difference in root mass and stalk diameter after being treated with SOURCE.

Product Pipeline

Future innovation

Our research improves nutrient efficiency, photosynthesis, and stress tolerance by enhancing the symbiotic relationship between plants and their environment.

Sound Branded Products

SOURCE Corn

Commercial

SOURCE Soybean

Commercial

SOURCE Wheat

Pre-Commercial

SOURCE Cotton

Field Dev

SOURCE Canola

Field Dev

Carbon Sequestration

Field Dev

Pipeline

Early Dev