The Nitrogen Dilemma
Synthetic fertilizer has, until now, been the primary way farmers grow the food the world needs. But it is one of agriculture’s leading contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions and a significant driver of poor water quality, biodiversity loss, and air pollution. Synthetic nitrogen is also unpredictable due to leaching and volatilization.
With a growing population to feed and pressure on natural resources, farmers need nitrogen that is reliable, predictable, and better for the environment, without compromising on yield. That's what we do.
Nitrogen is Necessary
Nitrogen is essential to plant growth. Yet, despite early advances in on-farm mechanization, plant breeding and early commercial fertilizers, modern agriculture was unable to meet rising demand until the invention and adoption of the Haber-Bosch process. By fixing atmospheric nitrogen to ammonia at scale, Haber-Bosch contributed to a 50% increase in global agricultural productivity -- but at a cost.
Global consumption of nitrogen fertilizer has increased 800% from the 1960s to exceed 200 million tons -- and much more will be needed to feed a global population of 9 billion by 2050. Yet, synthetic fertilizer is one of agriculture’s leading contributors to global greenhouse gas emissions and a significant driver of poor water quality, biodiversity loss and air pollution. It is also unpredictable due to leaching and volatilization.
In a volatile world, synthetic fertilizer is no longer a reliable food security solution.
Why Replace Synthetic Fertilizer?
Farmers spend over a third of their operating budget on synthetic fertilizer. Despite the use of soil testing, precision technology, stabilizers, and smarter management strategies, half of synthetic fertilizer applied to farm fields ends up as pollution or is wasted by denitrification.
The costs of nitrogen loss are tremendous to farmers and to the quality of our air, water and soil. Excess nitrogen runs off into waterways, leading to aquatic dead zones, toxic algae blooms and polluted drinking water. It’s released as nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 273x the impact of carbon dioxide. In the soil, excess nitrogen causes acidification, diminishes biodiversity, and accelerates a vicious cycle of chemical dependency.
Synthetic fertilizer is highly unpredictable, with half of applied fertilizer lost to the environment from leaching or volatilization. Excess reactive nitrogen is released to the air during fertilizer application, only to be absorbed by water and run off into waterways, and eventually evaporate into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas.
Agriculture, including synthetic fertilizers and livestock production, is the largest source of global N₂O emissions
N₂O is 273x more powerful at warming the planet than CO2 and accounts for 75% of total U.S. N₂O emissions.
N₂O, mostly from industry and agriculture, contributes 2.5% to total global GHG emissions.
Harness The Power Of Nature
While precision technologies and more sustainable conservation management practices can address some of the limitations of synthetic fertilizer, they don’t address its fundamental flaws. We are transforming agriculture by eliminating the need for synthetic fertilizer. Our technology meets the demand for nitrogen consistency and dependability by enabling microbes to convert atmospheric nitrogen and deliver it to crops.
By replicating a microbe's nitrogen fixing abilities, Pivot Bio is able to supply nitrogen directly to plants at the root, in any weather or soil, throughout the growing season. We are delivering the nitrogen necessary to grow essential crops without the negative impacts of synthetic fertilizer.
Thanks to our breakthroughs, we are supporting healthier, more productive and resilient crops and preventing nitrogen loss to the environment. We are signaling a sea change in nitrogen management and evaluation, measuring not just yield improvement but also profitability, predictability and sustainability.