Corn Steep Powder (CSP) is a fine, yellow to yellow-brown, water-soluble powder made by spray drying corn steep liquor (CSL). Corn steep liquor is a concentrated liquid derived from the water that is used in the initial stage of the corn wet milling process. Once considered a waste stream byproduct, its properties lent well for other uses. The tan to brown liquid is denser than water and has an acid pH (3.7 - 4.7). Since it contains 40 to 60% water soluble corn solids, it has a variety of nutrients. CSL has nitrogen in the form of amino acids and peptides, macro and micronutrients, and vitamins. Because of this, it is particularly useful as an ingredient in microbiological growth media, or can be combined with gluten into an animal feed supplement. Most recently it has been shown to be useful as a fertilizer, for the production of food, in the production of microbial products, and has some industrial applications.
By Dr. Wes Chun Ph.D
Chief Science Officer, Grower's Secret
Phosphorus, like nitrogen, is a member of the pnictogen group and was the thirteenth element to be discovered and the first element that was chemically discovered by Hennig Brand in 1669. It is one of the three major essential elements needed by plants simply because of the amounts that are utilized by the plant. Phosphorus is the only element that was discovered through a disgusting process involving the concentration of urine.
Ferti-Facts: Nitrogen - A Change in Tradition
Daniel Rutherford discovered the existence of nitrogen by first depleting oxygen from air. He accomplished this by asphyxiating a mouse in a closed jar, burning a candle until it went out in the jar, and burning phosphorus until it would not burn. The remaining gas was passed through a carbon dioxide absorbing solution. The remaining gas (which is now almost pure nitrogen gas) did not support the burning of a candle or life of a mouse. He referred to this gas as noxious or phlogisticated air (Phlogiston was a postulated element that was released from combustible bodies when burned).
Microbial Weapons for Agricultural Production
During the early 20th century, soil microbiology and ecology studies led to the identification of many microorganisms that act as antagonists or hyperparasites of pathogens and insect pests. This was the origin of a popular research topic, biological control, the use of an organism or organisms to reduce disease (caused by plant pathogens) or damage (caused by insect pests). This often resulted in the release of several predators, parasitoids, and pathogens of insects and plants until the mid 1900’s. Many showed promise in field-scale inoculations, but few were developed commercially because of the rapid adoption of less expensive and more consistently performing chemical pesticides.
Chloride - For a Plant’s Healthier Moments
Chlorine is the 12th most abundant element in nature comprising 0.017% of the earth’s crust.
The element calcium (Ca) is the fifth most abundant element in the earth’s crust and the third most abundant metal after iron and aluminum. It is a Group 2 member of the Periodic table. Calcium along with magnesium, beryllium, strontium, radium, and barium, are known as alkaline earth metals. These metals react with other chemicals at standard temperature and pressure, usually with an overall release of energy. In plants calcium is an essential secondary macronutrient, needed in moderate amounts and is rarely limiting in crop production.
It has been decades since I first learned about essential elements for plants. Back then, there were 16 essential elements, now there are 18. So it’s a good time to have a refresher course on fertilizer basics and update our current knowledge of the essential elements. In the next series of articles we will revisit all the macro and micro nutrients. But before we do that, let’s return to fertilizer basics.