Plants & Nitrates

Nitrate is a polyatomic ion which can be toxic to humans in large quantities as the human body can transform nitrates into nitrite. Nitrite is dangerous to our health so the lower our nitrate intake is, the better it is for our health. Regarding human consumption, the highest nitrate levels are mostly found in leafy vegetables (spinach, lettuce) and our drinking water.

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Aptus Plant Tech has developed a scientifically proven method to lower nitrate levels in fruits and vegetables and at the same time maintain the yield and even enrich the nutritional content of harvested plants.

Years ago people thought nitrate in drinking water contributed to our health, but recent research says otherwise. As not all consequences of high nitrate intake are clear, it’s best for infants as well as adults to minimize nitrate intake.

130Nitrates are mainly applied in fertilizers for agricultural crops because of their high solubility and availability. The most common nitrates are connected to ammonium, sodium, potassium, and calcium salts. Several million tons are produced annually for this purpose.

High levels of nitrate fertilization undoubtedly lead to higher levels of nitrate in the plant. In modern agriculture, the use of huge amounts of nitrate seems to be taken for granted. While humans are subject to nitrate toxicity, farmers still use nitrates in excessive rates. Intensive testing and research shows that when plants contain levels of nitrates that are too high, plants become more susceptible to infections and diseases and nutrition values diminish significantly..

491Lettuce grown in greenhouses with nitrate-rich fertilizer can contain up to 8 times higher levels of nitrate compared to vegetables grown in outdoor conditions.  We often observe that plants cannot transform nitrates sufficiently, which results in excessive nitrate levels in the plant. This makes the plant weaker, makes it produce fruits and vegetables with lower mineral contents, and shorter shelf life. With plant sap measurements in our lab we investigate techniques to better manage nitrogen fertilization and to stimulate plants in the more efficient transformation of nitrates.

Multiple double blind trials on leafy vegetables showed:

  • Significantly lower nitrate levels in plants
  • Significantly higher brix rates
  • Improved mineral uptake = higher nutritional value of our food