Ready for Transfer

Berkeley Lab’s Method for Enhancing Nitrogen Fertilizer Efficiency – Available to License

Dept. of Energy

Laboratory: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Technology: Method for enhancing nitrogen fertilizer efficiency

Opportunity: This Berkeley Lab technology is patent-pending and available for licensing or collaboration by interested parties.

Details: Researchers at Berkeley have developed a technology to facilitate microbial nitrate reduction in nitrogen fertilizer to improve agricultural efficiency. The researchers designed a high-throughput assay to predict the effect of certain carbon sources and geochemically relevant inorganic compounds on nitrogen reduction.

Using microbial enrichment cultures, researchers tracked microbial growth after the addition of assorted carbon sources using optical density (OD) 600. Ammonium production, the last stage in nitrogen reduction, was also measured in these cultures by colorimetric assay. Carbon sources with a greater ammonium/OD ratio had a higher propensity for microbial nitrate reduction. Researchers also tested the effect of various serial dilutions of inorganic compounds in cultures to determine the inhibitory potency of ammonium production and growth. Compounds with higher rates of ammonium-to-growth inhibitory potency showed increased levels of ammonium production. 


  • Reduced nitrogen loss to the atmosphere during fertilization
  • More sustainable and economically profitable agricultural practices
  • Improved agricultural efficiency

Applications: This technology is designed to serve the agriculture industry.

Contact: For more information about this technology, contact LBNL’s Innovation and Partnerships Office at

To view the original tech listing on LBNL’s site, visit

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