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Taking Nitrogen Out of Thin Air

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Rising costs for everything from fertilizer to fuel remain a challenge for Canadian farmers as the 2023 planting season gets underway. Fertilizer in particular presents a dilemma – crops like corn, wheat, and canola need nitrogen to grow and forgoing the necessary nutrient isn’t an option for farmers that need to maintain profitable yields, or for a nation looking to maintain food security.

Synthetic nitrogen is made from natural gas, which has led to drastic price volatility recently. It’s also incredibly energy-intensive to produce. The production of each ton of synthetic nitrogen releases about three tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and about half of the nitrogen farmers apply never reaches the crop it’s intended for. The inefficiency of producing and using synthetic nitrogen is linked with significant environmental impacts, including water and air pollution. 

Pivot Bio is working on a better solution, however. We’ve developed nitrogen-fixing microbes that convert nitrogen from the atmosphere into a form that plants can use. This gives farmers the ability to replace synthetic nitrogen with a more sustainable fertilizer without impacting yields.

The microbial fertilizer being developed by Pivot Bio works just as nature intended. The microbes adhere directly to the roots of the plant, providing a steady daily dose of the nutrient throughout the growing season that isn’t lost to the environment. 

To bring this microbial fertilizer to Canada, Pivot Bio completed the first year of trials last year with a single proprietary strain of microbes. In 2023; we are planning trials with additional microbes to develop a product that will perform at the highest levels for Canadian farmers.