Farmers who cultivate corn, peanuts, potatoes, rice and soybeans could increase harvest yields using nutrients designed by an agricultural technology research company and licensed to fertilizer manufacturers.
Agtec Innovations Inc., which has offices in Los Altos, CA, and Kolkata, India, designs specialty fertilizers based on its Smart Micronutrient technology. The company has become a tenant in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette.
Smart Micronutrients are patented, environmentally friendly, slow-release fertilizers based on designer molecules. Company CEO Murli Varadachari said these molecules mimic the natural form of micronutrients in the soil.
“These molecules also mirror the plant root-activated release of nutrients that allows for sustained nutrient availability,” he said. “This has resulted in sharp increases in crop yields during extensive field trials.”
During field trials, Agtec Innovations’ fertilizers increased yield over the control group in cabbage, corn, peanut, potato, rice and soybean crops at one-fifth to one-tenth of the recommended dosage. They also increased the yield over the control group in black gram, green gram, red cabbage and red lentil crops.
Varadachari said the fertilizers are environmentally friendly and leave no pollutants or residues.
“These fertilizers consist entirely of plant nutrients. There are no pollutants or residues left behind when they are used, and they do not leach or drain away from soil,” he said. “We have found that they also slow the rate of soil degradation over time.”
Agtec Innovations commercializes the technology by licensing the intellectual property to fertilizer manufacturers.
“Because Smart Micronutrients are insoluble, they have numerous potential applications including combining them with nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (NPK) fertilizers and coating them on NPK fertilizers and seeds,” Varadachari said. “Manufacturing them is a relatively simple process that requires easily available, low-cost starting materials.”
Varadachari said Agtec Innovations’ affiliation with Purdue Research Park will strengthen the company.
“It is great to be associated with Purdue University, which is at the forefront of agricultural research. The affiliation also helps us to reach out to Purdue faculty who may be interested in testing and research,” he said. “The facilities and support offered by the Purdue Research Park will be particularly useful for us to make Smart Micronutrients a commercial success.”