Published: Dec. 28, 2011

MSU invention plays key role in award-winning product

Contact(s): Val Osowski College of Natural Science office: (517) 432-4561, Holly Whetstone MSU AgBioResearch

EAST LANSING, Mich. - A new forage boost product - containing a revolutionary microbial fertilizer developed by a team of Michigan State University researchers - has been selected as one of the top products of the year by Popular Science magazine.

Forage Boost, from Bio Soil Enhancers, Inc. is the recipient of a 2011 "Best of What's New" Grand Award. It earned top honors in the Green Technology Category from the magazine for its positive environmental impact.  A key ingredient in Forage Boost is SumaGrow, which was invented by lead researcher C.A. Reddy, MSU professor of microbiology and molecular genetics, and Lalithakumari Janarthanam, a visiting microbiologist and plant pathologist.

SumaGrow is different from common fertilizers because it harnesses the power of non-genetically modified living microorganisms to improve the productivity of forages, hay crops and a broad spectrum of grain and vegetable crops, Reddy said. 

Reddy said SumaGrow reduces the need for chemical fertilizers by fixing atmospheric nitrogen, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and lowering chemical pollution of soil and water. Benefits also include improved disease resistance and increased phosphate availability.

Popular Science praised Forage Boost, projecting that it could possibly eliminate all other fertilizer use on the planet's 8 billion acres of pasture grass. It also states that Forage Boost helps to replenish microbes in overfarmed soil, increases productivity by locking in nitrogen in the soil, breaks down organic waste into useful nutrients and decreases surface water runoff by about half.

The magazine reviews thousands of products in search of the top 100 breakthrough products and technologies. For more information on the award winners, click here.