Sunday, March 26, 2017

Amino Acids




In the early 1970s, two labs in Japan sought to figure out what in fish made them benefit seemingly all plants when thrown into gardens and fields. The catalyst component they determined was not macro-nutrients, but rather the amino acids content.

Amino acids are found in every living organism, and of the 200+ known amino acids, the labs then set their sights on determining whether any amino acids might be more beneficial than others.

Over the next twenty years, hundreds of amino acids trials were conducted on a variety of plants, and using a
number of metrics, including root mass, yield, color, size, weight and taste were used to gauge benefits in all kinds of plants. They discovered that 16 amino acids have an especially significant impact on overall plant health. However, they also learned that while certain amino acids are beneficial at later stages, too much could be toxic to seedlings in some plants. The key is moderation and in precise proportions, which returned exceptional results in metrics studied. It is this proportion we put into the pellets.

Completely natural and wild-sourced, amino acids are fermented three weeks using a laborious and proprietary process to create a liquid concentrate, which provides a secondary function in helping congeal all the natural ingredients in the final dry pellet form.

Advances in understanding amino acids & benefits to plants

Amino acids are chelate and binding agents, attaching to a variety of macro- and micro-nutrients, helping plants to absorb.  See Oct. 24, 2015 blog post.

Independent lab tests confirm that the proprietary amino acid combination in Be-1 Pellets exponentially increase beneficial microbes in composts and soils, especially protozoa.

Improve plant defenses/stress resilience (transplant, insects, pathogens, salinity, cold, drought and oxidative conditions)

Increase chlorophyll concentration, facilitating higher degrees of photosynthesis

Amino acids provide a nitrogen source to plants

Stimulate carbon and nitrogen metabolism and to increase nitrogen assimilation

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and of all cell formation. Only amino acids can form the proteins that make up the human body and plant tissue.  They are essential for growth and repairing tissue and they are a vital part of many processes in plants, including photosynthesis. They are also sources of energy, containing nitrogen, whereas other energy sources, such as fats and carbohydrates do not.

In agriculture and plant health, the chelating ability of amino acids (minerals naturally bind to amino acids) facilitate the delivery of minerals to plants, prevent nutrient deficiencies, while improving the overall health of plants. Chelating of indigenous minerals is may be one of the components that gives wines, coffee, etc. the added tasting dimension of Terroir.

Not all amino acids are created equal. 

In recent years, there has been a rising interest among high-performance fertilizer manufacturers in amino acids as an amendment.  Some recently introduced amino acid products are focusing on NPK content.  However, the focus is often misplaced.  After dilution up to several hundred times, often macro-nutrient content becomes negligible.  Instead, emphasis should be placed on amino acid quality and how much they increase microorganism populations. 

Published scholarly journals are finding new functional benefits for amino acids all the time.  The amino acids in Be-1 are the best combination known to improve stress resiliency and bolster natural defenses to damaging insects, fungus, drought and transplanting, while enhancing taste, fragrance, color, texture and possibly even helping increase BRIX.

In California, we are required to use the term Hydrolyzed Protein, not Amino Acid.  So what's the difference between proteins, amino acids and hydrolyzed proteins?

Proteins are made up of hundreds or even thousands of amino acid types, held together by peptides.  On the other hand, Hydrolyzed Proteins are smaller fragments of proteins.  Amino Acids are even smaller still.

Symbiotic Relationship with Beneficial Microorganisms

Microbes, including bacteria, protozoa (amoebas, flagellates, ciliates) and fungi already in the soil are attracted amino acids and can significantly increase populations. This reaction in the rhizoshpere greatly increases the amount of absorbable nitrogen cycling potential available to plants.  

This natural, symbiotic relationship, this process is often suppressed in typical greenhouse and home-growing environments, where applying conventional salt-, commercial-, chemical-based fertilizers, slowly deteriorate soil quality over time, killing any microbes and making more frequent replanting and replenishing of soil necessary, i.e. necessitating more conventional fertilizer to achieve the same results.

On the other hand, Be-1 increases soil quality by encouraging the natural proliferation of these natural micro-organisms, and air, moisture and nutrition are maintained. Plant quality will show marked improvement, ultimately requiring less fertilizers, while improving plant health.

Further Reading:
Below, we have provided some useful journal references that will help you to find the latest research articles. Most articles may be accessed using Google's scholarly article search engine.  Simply copy article title and paste.


ABDEL-RAHIM, E., et al. Growth of date palm callus as affected by growth regulators, sugars as carbon source and amino acids as organic nitrogen source. Arab Journal of Biotechology 1 (1998): 99-106.

COLLA, Giuseppe, et al. Biostimulant action of a plant-derived protein hydrolysate produced through enzymatic hydrolysis. Frontiers in plant science 5 (2014).

DOI, Tetsuya Doi, Jun Abe, Fumitaka Shiotsu, and Shigenori Morita. Study on rhizosphere bacterial community in lowland rice grown with organic fertilizers by using PCR - denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis. Institute for Sustainable Agro-ecosystem Services, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo. Japan. 2010.

HILDEBRANDT, Tatjana M., et al. Amino acid catabolism in plants. Molecular plant (2015).

JAMTGARD, Sandra. The occurrence of amino acids in agricultural soil and their uptake by plants. Vol. 2010. No. 27. 2010.

JEFFRIES, Peter and  Silvio Gianinazzi, Silvia Perotto, Katarzyna Turnau, and José-Miguel Barea. The contribution of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in sustainable maintenance of plant health and soil fertility. Biology and fertility of soils 37, no. 1 (2003): 1-16.

JONES, David L., et al. Plant capture of free amino acids is maximized under high soil amino acid concentrations. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 37.1 (2005): 179-181.

KUROHA Takeshi and Satoh, Shinobu. Involvement of cytokinins in adventitious and lateral root formation. 2007.

LIU, Xing-Quan, and Kyu-Seung Lee. Effect of mixed amino acids on crop growth. Science of Agriculture and Farming: Growth, Development and Cultivation of Crops and Plants. (2015): 119.

LOCHHEAD, A. G., and R. H. Thexton. Qualitative studies of soil micro-organisms: VII. The 'Rhizosphere Effect' in relation to the amino acid nutrition of bacteria. Canadian journal of research 25.1 (1947): 20-26.

LODWIG, Emma M., et al. Amino-acid cycling drives nitrogen fixation in the legume–Rhizobium symbiosis. Nature 422.6933 (2003): 722-726.

MASCLAUX-DAUBRESSE, Céline, Françoise Daniel-Vedele, Julie Dechorgnat, Fabien Chardon, Laure Gaufichon, and Akira Suzuki. Nitrogen uptake, assimilation and remobilization in plants: challenges for sustainable and productive agriculture. Annals of Botany (2010): mcq028.

MOE, Luke A. Amino acids in the rhizosphere: From plants to microbes. American journal of botany 100, no. 9 (2013): 1692-1705.

MORGAN, J. A. W., G. D. Bending, and P. J. White. Biological costs and benefits to plant–microbe interactions in the rhizosphere. Journal of Experimental Botany 56, no. 417 (2005): 1729-1739.

PHILLIPS, Donald A., Tama C. Fox, Maria D. King, T. V. Bhuvaneswari, and Larry R. Teuber. Microbial products trigger amino acid exudation from plant roots. Plant Physiology 136, no. 1 (2004): 2887-2894.

REEVE, Jennifer R., et al. Soil-based cycling and differential uptake of amino acids by three species of strawberry (Fragaria spp.) plants. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 40.10 (2008): 2547-2552.

SAROJNEE, Dinnoo Yuckmila, Boodia Navindra, and Sembhoo Chandrabose. Effect of naturally occurring amino acid stimulants on the growth and yield of hot peppers. Journal of Animal & Plant Sciences 5.1 (2009): 414-424.

SCHELLER, Edwin, and Joachim Raupp. Amino acid and soil organic matter content of topsoil in a long term trial with farmyard manure and mineral fertilizers. Biological agriculture & horticulture 22.4 (2005): 379-397.

SENWO, Z. N., and M. A. Tabatabai. Amino acid composition of soil organic matter. Biology and Fertility of Soils 26.3 (1998): 235-242.

TALBOT, J. M., S. D. Allison, and K. K. Treseder. Decomposers in disguise: mycorrhizal fungi as regulators of soil C dynamics in ecosystems under global change. Functional ecology 22.6 (2008): 955-963.

WANG, Ying, Zhen-sheng SHI, Zhi-bin WANG, and Feng-hai LI. Absorption and utilization of amino acids by plant and application of amino acids on agriculture [J]. Soil and Fertilizer Sciences in China 1 (2008): 003.

WHITESIDE MD, Garcia MO, Treseder KK (2012) Amino Acid Uptake in Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Plants. PLoS ONE 7(10): e47643. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047643

YUAN, Wei, Yuan-hua DONG, and Hui WANG. Uptake and utilization of amino acid nitrogen by plants [J]. Soil and Fertilizer Sciences in China 4 (2009): 003.

YUJIE, Liu Qingcheng Xu Yulan Zhang. A study on the fertilizer efficiency of amino acid. Amino Acids & Biotic Resources 4 (1992): 000.