Enzyme-based test kits for Phosphate

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2011-02354
Agency Tracking Number: 2011-02354
Amount: $460,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.4
Solicitation Number: USDA-NIFA-SBIR-00339
Small Business Information
334 HECLA ST, Lake Linden, MI, 49945-1323
DUNS: 827028192
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Wilbur Campbell
 (906) 296-1115
Business Contact
 Ellen Campbell
Title: Vice President, Co-PD
Phone: (906) 296-1000
Email: ellenr@nitrate.com
Research Institution
Nutrient management is a touchy subject: there has to be a balance between regulatory concerns and adequate crop nutrition. Phosphate is an essential nutrient for plant productivity but also a major pollutant when applied in excess. On-the-spot testing for phosphate as orthophosphate (available, soluble, or reactive P) is an appropriate solution to give producers and their technical service providers (Extension agents, crop consultants, and farm managers) better control of the use of phosphate fertilizer in the field. NECi, The Nitrate Elimination Company, Inc., has developed a series of enzyme-based, environmentally benign, and reliable nitrate test kits with the assistance of USDA SBIR funding. NECi Ag-NTKs (Nitrate Test Kits for Agriculture) and lab reagents are being adopted by producers, consultants, and agribusiness. We now propose to develop a similar line of test kits for detection of Phosphate. Compliance with nutrient management regulations will be less burdensome when practical, affordable tools are readily available. The photometer (color reader) being perfected in Phase II is designed to work with both nitrate and phosphate test kits. The photometer will provide data on the N and P status of soils, runoff, feed, and crops. This information can be used for making timely, knowledge-based nutrient application decisions with an eye to maximizing profit and yield while staying in compliance. NECi's develops products that enable and encourage testing as an aid to conservation of rural quality of life. In a different context, NECi is deeply committed to Green Chemistry. Many of the methods routinely used by analytical chemists in the lab or out in the field require the use of hazardous or toxic reagents. Simplified methods designed for non-skilled operators tend to lack the accuracy, sensitivity, and selectivity required in order for the information gathered to be relevant and useful. Enzyme-based methods can satisfy both sets of users as the variability and instability characteristics of enzymes are solved though the use of recombinant protein expression and state of the art stabilization techniques.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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