BNI is an active plant-mediated natural function, where nitrification inhibitors released from plant root systems suppress soil-nitrifying activity. Nitrification, the process in which limited group of nitrifying microbes (nitrifier) oxidize ammonia to nitrate, is crucial for the nitrogen cycle in the global environment systems and the crop production.
Modern crop production systems depend heavily on fertilizer-nitrogen inputs to drive agricultural productivity, resulted in too high nitrification rate. This causes the constant decline of nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE) and various big problems to the earth environment. Nitrification converts immobile form of fertilizer-N i.e. NH4+ in the soil to highly mobile nitrate, resulted in the pollution of the aquatic environment. In addition, some is released into the atmosphere as nitrous oxide (N2O), a powerful greenhouse gas, by denitrification and also is emitted in the course of nitrification. Suppressing nitrifier-activity to control nitrification in agricultural soils by the BNI technology is thus central to improve NUE and reduce N-leakage to the environment. This leads to the reduction of fertilizer inputs as a result.