LAKE LINDEN, Mich., May 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Agriculture nutrients are in the news these days. The city of Des Moines, Iowa is running their nitrate removal system on overtime while algal blooms in Lake Erie and coastal regions nationwide are painting the water green. Monitoring these nutrients is key to preventing this widespread issue.
NECi Superior Enzymes, a biotechnology company in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, developed a new, easy to use device that fits in your palm and interfaces via Bluetooth to mobile devices. The handheld photometer determines the amount of nitrate or phosphate by measuring the light that is passed through the sample, following a simple enzymatic reaction.
Nitrate & phosphate are essential for plant & soil health. Fertilizers rich in these nutrients increase crop yield and ensure food security. The problem occurs when excess nutrients migrate from agricultural fields and accumulate in local watersheds. This wastes valuable crop nutrients, contributes to harmful algal blooms, and causes unmanageable levels of nitrate at drinking water processing plants. Removing nitrate from drinking water is a difficult and costly process. Elevated nitrate levels pose health concerns, especially for infants who are susceptible to blue-baby syndrome. Successful nutrient management practices are essential to solve and prevent these issues. This includes targeting proper nitrate and phosphate levels in soil from the start, and routinely monitoring them.
"We develop an accurate, reliable test method that works in laboratory settings. Then we simplify the method so that anyone can do it. We believe users should have confidence that their results actually mean something", says Ellen R. Campbell, CEO of NECi Superior Enzymes.
Thanks to Research & Development grants from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program of the US Department of Agriculture, NECi developed enzyme-based test kits for accurate measurement of nitrate and phosphate levels in the environment. The handheld instrument, which was developed with funding from The National Science Foundation's SBIR program, provides digital results on users' smartphones.
Enzymes are abundant in nature to perform essential biological tasks. The enzyme used in NECi's nitrate test kits, Nitrate Reductase, is the enzyme in plants that initiates the conversion of nitrate into proteins & DNA. Learn more about NECi's biotechnology tools anyone can use at www.nitrate.com.
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SOURCE NECi Superior Enzymes