How the science is proven right in the cells
Encera™ fixes nitrogen in corn and other crops all season long, and it does it from within the very cells of the plant. As an in-furrow or foliar application, it quickly colonises and spreads throughout the plant as it grows and begins to fix N right away. But Encera isn’t the first bacteria to fix N in crops.
For decades, farmers have benefited from the naturally occurring bacteria Rhizobia, which fixes N in soybeans and other legume crops. However, there are two big differences between Rhizobia and Encera. The first major difference is that Encera fixes N in corn and other crops beyond legumes. The second is how Encera fixes N from within the plant cells and throughout the entire plant, as opposed to fixing N from nodules at the roots. The Encera bacteria moves in close to the chloroplasts within the plant cell, right at the heart of photosynthesis, and provides nitrogen exactly where it is most needed. So while Rhizobia works from the outside in, Encera works from the inside out - literally - from within cells throughout the plant.
The microscopic images below show the Encera bacteria inhabiting cells in a sample of a corn leaf and root. The bacteria is blue/black stained in order to facilitate observation, and it is clearly present inside the cells. Similarly, a section of corn leaf shows the same blue-coloured Encera bacteria present within the leaf cells.
Extensive colonisation inside the cells of the leaf with Encera bacteria is visible in this safranin-stained microscopic sample. The N-fixing bacteria are closely associated with chloroplasts (i.e. the plant cell organelle that conducts photosynthesis that requires a steady supply of nitrogen for plant growth).
Beyond corn, Encera’s N-fixing inside-cell colonisation has been tested and observed in other crop types. The below images show Encera both in tomatoes and in rice, colonising root cells in the same manner as in corn.
Among the most effective tests for proof and measurement of Nitrogen fixation are the labelled N studies (N14, N15 ). These studies were conducted in addition to other industry-recognized test methodologies, including chlorophyll content measurement, nitrogen percentage in biomass, Nif minus mutant testing, and field efficacy and yield benefits tests in nitrogen-poor soils. While all of the tests confirmed that Encera fixes N and enhances photosynthesis, the labelled N studies conclusively showed that the source of Nitrogen was from Encera fixing N inside the corn plant cells, where N is needed most.
As shown in the images below, taken with a NanoSIM microscope, in image [ L ] Envita is actively fixing N within a corn plant cell, indicated by the red-pink colouration of the N, which is being used by the chloroplasts.
In image [ R ] the highly magnified image of the chloroplasts in the same corn plant shows they are using N that could only have come from the N supplied by Encera. This test allows researchers to isolate the N to show only the N supplied by Encera. The red colour represents high nitrogen-fixing activity.
When N is applied early in the season and to the roots of the plant, farmers can expect some natural leaching, especially if the plant is under stress from too much water, not enough water, high heat or pest pressure. Plants under stress do not translocate synthetic N from the soil as efficiently as when they are in an optimal state. The plant will naturally slow down its ability to produce nitrogen, so even if N is available it potentially isn’t going to the places where it needs to be as quickly as the plant needs it. Farmers can trust in Encera to fix N exactly where it is needed, inside all of the plant cells, all season long.