Biosynthetically produced amino acid byproducts can replace nitrogen fertilizers for corn production
Kenneth J. Moore
Commercial biosynthesis of the amino acids tryptophan (TRP) and lysine (LYS) results in byproducts that are rich in both organic and inorganic compounds. Their nitrogen (N) content may have value as fertilizer N replacement in corn (Zea mays L.) production. We conducted a two-year field study where soil applied pure TRP, its biosynthesis byproduct and LYS byproduct were evaluated as replacements for synthetic N fertilizers in corn production. In-season plant measurements leaf area index , normalized difference vegetation index, grain quality (grain protein and oil concentration) and total N accumulation were not affected by N treatments. Additionally, TRP and LYS biosynthesis byproducts did not influence corn grain yield, though some of the byproducts treatments had significantly greater harvest index (HI) relative to control treatments. Our results also highlight the enhancement in grain N partitioning when biosynthesis byproducts are used relative to controls treatments, suggesting that N from amino acids may be influencing the physiology of N partitioning. Biosynthesis byproducts from TRP and LYS production can replace AN and AS fertilizers on an equivalent N basis to produce high corn grain yields.