Amino Acid Basics

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Enzymatic Hydrolysis

 

Macro-Sorb’s amino acid products are derived from an exclusive enzymatic hydrolysis process driven by processes used in advanced biotechnology. The process is completely natural and simulates protein hydrolysation, the method living plants use to create amino acids.

For the correct action of our enzymatic processes, strict control of time, pH and temperature is required.  Industrially, these processes can only be performed in pharmaceutical grade production facilities. The enzymes utilized are capable of selecting the amino acid attachment sites, so each amino acid is released without damage and maintains their original conformation. This exclusive enzymatic process along with careful selection of source raw materials allows Macro-Sorb to deliver consistent product specifications across each production batch.

Pharmaceutical-grade enzymatic hydrolysis produces a consistent output of high concentration, biologically-active amino acids.

 

L-Amino Acids

Amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, are organic compounds containing an amino (-NH2) and a carboxylic acid (-COOH) group.  Although an organic chemist can synthesize thousands of amino acids, nature is very restrictive and uses only 20 amino acids arranged in different sequences to make proteins.  All proteins of animals and plants are exclusively made of L-amino acids (D-amino acids are extremely rare in nature).

Plants can synthesize their own amino acids through chemical reactions using significant expenditures of energy. However, when plants are under stress, they are unable to perform their normal physiological functions to make these amino acids.

Plants convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates through photosynthesis. Carbohydrates are converted into more complex organic compounds through respiration, and amino acids are formed by the addition of nitrogen absorbed from the soil or foliar applications. These amino acids are used by the plant to make proteins, enzymes, chlorophyll and other organic compounds..

Golf course and sports field turfgrass is frequently growing under less than optimum conditions due to environmental, chemical, mechanical, traffic and disease stresses.  These stresses can cause plants to decrease or stop photosynthesis, decrease carbohydrate and protein production, increase respiration, increase the catabolism of structural proteins and carbohydrates, close stomata and reduce gas exchange, initiate foliar senescence, and eventually, cause the plant’s death.  Therefore, there is a need to aid the plant in overcoming stress to maintain more uniform, healthier and stronger turfgrass throughout the growing season.

Plants are able to absorb amino acids through roots and leaves, and transport them to other tissues where needed to perform their essential functions. Products containing free L-amino acids and peptides of low molecular weight are now being used to complement fertilization and other maintenance practices. 

In some industries, amino acid-based products are obtained by processing raw material protiens with acids or alkalis. Due to their unspecificity and aggressiveness, these substances considerably degrade the raw material and as a result, a low percentage of free amino acids are obtained, as opposed to the total quantity in the original protein. Additionally, the resulting amino acids can be degraded, which can lead to a racemization from L forms to D forms, thus losing their biological activity.

 

Biological Activity of L- and D-Amino Acids

There are two different isomers for every amino acid, depending on the orientation of the radicals projecting from the alpha carbon.

Biologically
Active
No Biological
Activity

The union of amino acids creates all the types of proteins existing in living beings, either plant of animal.  In proteins, we can only find amino acids of configuration L, because proteins are formed with the help of enzymes that only insert L-amino acids into the protest chain.  The biological activity of amino acid based products is directly related to the quantity of L-shaped amino acids delivered to the plant.

 

Plant Utilization

Plants synthesize their own amino acids from inorganic nitrogen. The process includes the transformation of nitrate into nitrite and ammonium, and eventually into an organic molecule resulting in glutamic acid.  With glutamic acid as a base, the plant can synthesize all other amino acids through transamination processes. This process takes up much energy, and this is the reason why, under stressful situations for the plant, the direct supply of amino acids provides the energy for other physiological processes. Amino acids are easily absorbed through the leaves and roots, and can be directly used by the plant.

Free vs. Total Amino

 

In an amino acid product, free amino acids are what really matter. “Natural” or “total” amino acids are the sum of free amino acids plus amino acids bound to protein or peptides.  The smaller the difference between total and free results in a higher quality amino acid product. Products with lower chemical hydrolysis ratios have more amino acids bound to proteins or peptides and therefore cannot function physiologically in the plant after application.

 

Amino Acids and Plant Stress:  how do amino acids work against stress?

Energy savings of the nitrogen metabolic route

Plants synthesize their own amino acids out of inorganic nitrogen, thus producing glutamic acid. The plants synthesize all other amino acids out of that amino acid.  Since this process requires elevated amounts of energy, giving plants free amino acids in these moments of stress provides them with enough energy for other physiologic processes. Amino acids are molecules which are easily absorbed through leaves and roots and may be immediately used by the plants.

Osmoregulation

The free amino acids that accumulate inside the cells when in a stressful situation are created out of the synthesis of their precursors or out of the catabolism of the proteins.  These have a high cellular osmotic regulation capability that increases resistance of cells against adverse factors. 

Regulation of stomatal aperture and photosynthetic capacity

The closure of the stomas caused by adverse situations decreases the photosynthetic activity, slowing down all metabolic processes. The application of free amino acids to plants under stress favors the opening of the aperture of the stomas. This allows increased water retention in their tissues, thus increasing photosynthesis and delaying wilting.

Antioxidant action

Plants under stress situations react by accumulating oxidative compounds that cause cell damage. To counter these effects, plants use nitrogen compounds that act as natural anti oxidants: amino acids, amines, polyamines, etc. 

Amino acids that have noted antioxidant capacity are arginine, histidine, cisteine, tryptophan, lysine, methionine and threonine. Furthermore, it has been proved that the application of free amino acids causes an increase in the level of antioxidant compounds. 

Promotion of hormone regulation

It has been observed that amino acids play a role in the regulation of hormone levels in plants. Certain external factors cause hormone imbalance in plants, and amino acids have the ability to form hormones and balance hormone levels in plants.

 

Quelant® Technology

What is Deficiency Stress?

Deficiency stress is triggered by a nutritional imbalance that effects a plant’s physiological activity. This stress limits the potential for the plant to grow and thrive in its environment. A stressed plant, regardless of the type of stress, does not assimilate or transport nutrients as efficiently as a plant not subjected to stress.  In addition, the nutritional deficiency makes the plant much more sensitive and vulnerable to other types of stress: cold, frost, salinity, drought, pathogen attacks, etc

Dual Role of Amino Acids in Plant Stress

The amino acids contained in Macro-Sorb's Quelant products play a dual role against deficiency stress:

  • Stimulate the recovery of physiological balance so the plant can start to assimilate the nutrients it requires

  • Complex the essential nutrients so the reach the consumption points quickly, efficiently, and safely

Concept of Bioavailability

When evaluating the effectiveness of a nutrient chelate or complexing agent for plant health, it is most appropriate to speak of bioavailability.  Bioavailability can be defined as the amount of applied nutrients that can actually be used by an organism.  In the case of plants, it would rely on the ability of the plant to absorb and use the applied nutrients.  The application of Quelant products has the ability to increase the tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses by using free amino acids as a complexing agent, which facilitates increases in bioavailability.  

Complexing Role of Amino Acids

Plants possess natural mechanisms to meet the demand for nutrients to support cellular metabolism.  The primary mechanism for binding and mobilizing thee nutrients is complexing.  Amino acids and low molecular weight peptides retain complexed nutrients in a safe and bioavailable form.  

The use of amino acids as complexing agents facilitates:

  • Better absorption

  • Increased mobility

  • Excellent solubility

  • Lower reactivity

Quelant® vs. Chelates

A chelate acts to sequester the element. In general, they are synthetic molecules that are effective at the time of application, but are less useful during internal transport (mobility within the plant itself), as plants do not recognize these molecules as belonging to a biological system. 

 

A complex of organic molecules proves far more effective in aiding nutrients to reach their place of consumption. The amino acids contained in Macro-Sorb’s Quelant products are the same as those naturally used by the plant as an internal complexing agent. Once the nutrient reaches the consumption point, the amino acids can be incorporated into the plant's cellular metabolism.  

 

Calcium and Boron

Calcium, together with boron, exert their principal actions outside the plant cell. Their functions can be variable, but they are mainly structural, reinforcing the cell walls.  Calcium can be found inside the plant cell, normally located in the vacuole, in the form of an insoluble precipitate.

Calcium accumulation is useful for reinforcing the rigidness of the cell wall membrane, making it an essential element for the structure, stability and formation of cell walls.

Adequate boric nutrition facilitates calcium circulation inside the plant. Additionally, boron is necessary for pectin synthesis for cell walls. Up to 50% of a plant’s total boron concentration can be found in the cell walls.

More importantly, calcium can reduce boron availability in the soil and plant. Applications of calcium alone can cause a boron deficiency in some instances, therefore Quelant®-Ca is packaged with 0.2% boron to make the most of your calcium application.

 

Potassium Solubility in Hard Water

Quelant®-K low pH fully dissolves in very hard waters. Incomplete solution and precipitation can be a problem with potassium products when mixed with hard waters (i.e. waters with a high content of calcium and magnesium). Quelant-K low pH is formulated to remain completely soluble over a wide range of concentrations and water conditions.

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