Arevo’s technology: ‘A critical look at its nitrogen efficiency for growers’

Arginine-phosphate crystals in Arevo's research laboratory. - Photos and graphics: Arevo
Arginine-phosphate crystals in Arevo's research laboratory. - Photos and graphics: Arevo

Arevo introduces a green organic alternative to fertilizers to the market, promising more efficient nitrogen utilization, higher yields, and healthier soil by stimulating root growth and harnessing nature’s processes. Too good to be true? Future Farming posed ten critical questions, demanding evidence for these bold claims.

Arevo, based in Sweden, is an innovative product company dedicated to developing efficient and eco-friendly plant nutrition solutions. Their mission is to establish a system that fosters the growth of robust plants in fertile soil by harnessing the power of nature’s own processes. At the core of their approach lies a zero nitrogen waste system, where a minimal amount of nutrients can produce significant results. Their upcoming product, soon to hit the market, including seed coatings, embodies this philosophy. Here are the responses provided by Arevo to Future Farming regarding their upcoming fertilizer innovation.

1. What are the key promises of Arevo’s precision nutrition technology to growers of crops such as soybeans, corn, sunflowers, potatoes, and tomatoes?

Arevo has found a way to combine great yield, healthy plants, and healthy soil with minimal nitrogen leakage. Arevo’s concept is fundamentally different from conventional fertilizers. The purpose is not to fertilize plants, but instead to stimulate root growth by utilizing nature’s own processes. The technology offers growers the means to increase their yield with smaller amounts of nitrogen and less environmental impact.

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2. How does the product work at its core?

At its core is an insight into how plants can use the amino acid arginine as a natural source of nitrogen. Arginine has the highest nitrogen to carbon ratio of any of the 20 main amino acids, so it can be a beneficial source of organic nitrogen for plants. Of all amino acids, arginine is the strongest cation, meaning that it is positively charged over the pH-range of soils. This means that arginine sticks to negatively charged soil particles, which contributes to the very low losses of nitrogen when this amino acid is used in plant cultivation.

Arevo’s products are based on organic nitrogen in the form of arginine, which stimulates root development and microbial activity. This promotes increased uptake of water and nutrients, which creates more stress-resistant plants and increased productivity.

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3. What benefits does it offer to growers who implement it?

The main benefits are better nutrient use efficiency, more resistant plants, healthier soil, and significantly less nitrogen waste. Arevo’s arginine-based technology is particularly novel when it comes to nitrogen-fixing crops, such as soya, because the products increase nitrogen supply and do not impair nitrogen fixation from the air.

4. Preferably, could you provide specific advantages backed by evidence from independent studies?

There are more than 100 articles published (see also box below) in international journals (with a peer-review system) describing how plants take up and utilize organic nitrogen, in particular amino acids. (One of the most cited articles within this field is: Näsholm, Kielland and Ganeteg. Tansley review 182: 31-48., cited >1200 times). Arginine uptake and its effects on plant growth and development have also been studied in detail, and a selection of articles on this matter can be found at the end of the document.

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5. Additionally, is there variation in the level of benefits (increased yields) based on the type of crop?

We have interesting findings in our existing data, but since we are a research-based company, we want substantial amounts of data before we share conclusions officially.

6. What are the costs for growers who wish to implement it?

Costs to growers will be comparable to market prices for biostimulants or biofertilizers.

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Field trials in soybean with Arevo.
Field trials in soybean with Arevo.

7. Can the product be effectively applied with existing implements and machinery and time (in which stage of crop cultivation)?

Arevo’s products are applied at seeding, via seed coating, or precision-placed granules. In this way, no additional application steps need to be performed during planting. Since the products increase the plant’s own ability to absorb nutrients and water, long-term effects on growth can be achieved even if the products are used in early phases of cultivation. Products for application during other phases of cultivation are under development.

8. Is the product easily storable on the farm? Are there specific storage requirements? Can the delivery be guaranteed in the long term?

Since Arevo products do not contain microbes, they can be stored quite easily and have a long shelf-life. The granular products can be stored under normal conditions, preferably dry, dark and in closed containers, at temperatures from -25°C to +35°C. Coated seeds can be stored like other, non-coated seeds, with the same shelf life as the particular crop. Beyond that, there are no specific requirements.

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Difference in root development in grass. On the left treated with Arevo.
Difference in root development in grass. On the left treated with Arevo.

9. What proven side effects does the product have on, for instance, soil health?

One of the main benefits of Arevo’s arginine-based technology is that it stimulates interaction with beneficial soil microbes and does not disturb the natural processes in the ground.

10. How does the production process work, and is it sustainable? When and in which countries will it become available for growers of crops?

Arevo’s production centers around arginine in combination with phosphorus. Arginine is produced by fermentation using plant residue, such as corn or tapioca. The production process of arginine-phosphate is very efficient, with close to 100% utilization of raw material converted to product. The specific form of Arevo’s arginine-phosphate also enables slow-release properties without the use of plastic coatings.

We are in close dialogue with seed companies to decide what crops and markets will be the first to access our arable products.

Geert Hekkert Chief editor of Future Farming
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