What are Amino Acids?

Amino Acids are the building blocks of all living cells and are the basis of proteins. There are 20 biological active amino acids and they all share a similar structure, the only difference in a single group variant. This group variant provide its distinct structural and functional characteristics. Once incorporated into proteins, amino acids may undergo transformation to form even more diverse structures. 

An application of amino acids to plants can cause an;

• Increase in chlorophyll production 

• Increase in plant pest and pathogen resistance 

• Enhancement of flowering and fruit setting 

• Enhancement of the nutritional, brix content, size, flavour, and colouration of fruits 

• Optimised source of organic nitrogen for the synthesis of proteins 

• Enhancement of synthesis of vitamins and lipids 

• Activation various enzymatic systems 

• Enhancement in root morphology 

• Enhancement of nutrient uptake efficiency by being a natural chelating agent.   

Role of Proteins in Plants

Proteins are important in the biosynthesis of hormones, enzymes, membrane channels and pumps. Nitrate nitrogen is one of the main elements in protein – so a ready supply of nitrate is also essential for creation of amino acids and thus protein. Deficiency of protein in plants leads to stunted growth.


Complexes are molecules formed when a nutrient ion reacts with an electronegative ligand that has a donor atom, which allows the two ions to bond. Ligands with only one donor atom are termed "monodentate," whilst those that contain two or more donor atoms capable of bonding to a metal ion are termed bi, tri or tetradentate. These multi-donor Ligands are referred to as polydentate. When they bond to a nutrient ion via two or more donor atoms, the compIex formed contains one or more heterocyclic rings, which contain the micronutrient atom. Such complexes are termed cheIates.  

Biological chelates such as Amino Acids are examples of bidentate Iigands ,whilst in contrast, a Synthetic chelate such as ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA) is an example of a hexadentate Iigand also termed chelant. EDTA forms highly stable complexes with most nutrient ions, however, it is not particularly useful for the formation of nutrient chelates, as the bioavailability of such chelates is negligible when compared with amino acid nutrient chelates. Biological stability Nutrient chelation is a relatively straightforward process governed by some fundamental chemistry basics. There are distinct differences between the relative stabilities and their likely bioavailabilty.  

The uniquely designed blend of 20 biologically active amino acids found in the Ortus Range of products ensure a unique biological stability under a range of conditions whilst maintaining optimal biological bioavailability.  

Amino acids are known as bidentate chelants – This means that they form two bonds with a nutrient ion to form a “chelate ring”. Two bonds are stronger than a single ionic bond. This protects the nutrient ion, whilst maintaining the nutrient ion in solution, safe from many adverse physical and chemical conditions. This also ensures compatibility with a wide range of plant protection products. In contrast, EDTA, has a much tighter bond to the nutrient ion, therefore reducing its bioavailabilty. It is also a large molecule and therefore penetrates cells at a slower rate compared to natural chelants.     Cell membranes do not have the capacity to absorb Synthetic chelates.  For nutrients to be absorbed into the cell, Synthetic chelates must first unload its nutrient ion, leaving a free chelate molecule, which must be electrically satisfied.  For example, EDTA has a very high affinity for calcium.  As a result, the Synthetic chelate will scavenge existing free calcium from the surrounding environment, including cell walls and membranes. This chain of events has the potential to cause the collapse of the cell walls and the leakage of cell contents, leading to phytotoxic effects.  In contrast to this, the Ortus Range do not need to release their nutrient ions. The small molecule remains intact and electrically neutral, allowing it to pass through the protein channel pathway with minimal interference and thus the risk of phytotoxicity is low.   

Nutrient uptake

Only a small amount of the total plant’s nutrient requirements may ever be taken up through its leaves. High concentrations of foliar applied nutrients may cause irreparable damage to the leaves. This risk can be reduced, if applied in smaller concentrations and / or applied whilst plants are growing quickly. 

There are two ways dissolved nutrients can enter leaves: 

• Through stomatal guard cells

• Through cuticle channels, with nanometer diameter scale. 

Since the stomata are mostly situated on the underside of the leaf, good coverage of both the under and upper side of leaves is necessary, for the most rapid and complete uptake of a foliar fertiliser. The cuticle itself will swell when it absorbs water, allowing some dissolved nutrients to diffuse into the plant. To ensure optimal uptake of nutrients, foliar fertilisation should be carried out when relative humidity is high, such as early in the morning or late in the afternoon. 

Uptake from applications of the Ortus Range, differs when compared to normal foliar fertilisers, as it is recognised by the plant as a small Protein (Protein is a long chain of adjoining amino acids). Amino Acids can enter the plant via protein channels, thereby adding an additional entry point into the plant cell. Protein channels use little energy and can facilitate rapid uptake.  

By chelating trace elements with 20 unique Amino Acids in the Ortus Range they can be absorbed through the same protein channel allowing for fast, effective uptake and transport. In addition to their role as primary building blocks, amino acids are one of the main nitrogenous compounds transported by xylem and phloem between the plant organs. Amino acid translocation through the plant requires crossing membranes at multiple locations. In the chelated form this also enables micronutrients to be further transported internally within the plant.   

ORTUS range

ORTUS Boron             4.7%B  14.4% Amino Acid 

ORTUS Calcium         5.6% Ca 14.4% Amino Acid

ORTUS Copper           4.5%Cu 14.4% Amino Acid

ORTUS Iron                 4.5%Fe .  14.4% Amino Acid

ORTUS Magnesium  2.5% Mg 14.4% Amino Acid

ORTUS Manganese  5.4%Mn 14.4% Amino Acid

ORTUS Molybdenum 1.8%Mo 14.4% Amino Acid

ORTUS Multi               0.5%Mg 0.5%B 0.15%Cu 1.3%Fe 1.1% Mn 1.44%Zn 14.4% Amino Acid

ORTUS Zinc                7.2% Zn 14.4% Amino Acid

ORTUS Fruit               3.6%Ca 2.2%Mg 0.4%B 14.4% Amino Acid

ORTUS Boron and Zinc 0.4%B 1.6%Zn 10% Free Amino Acid

• ORTUS Range of products are derived from protein hydrolyses and contain up to 50% w/w of Amino Acids in solution 

• Amino Acids are bidentate chelants – they form two bonds to the nutrient (eg Cu, Zn, Mn) and form a “chelate ring” 

• Amino Acid chelated trace elements are soluble, stable and rapidly absorbed by plant cells – through the leaf. 

• Amino Acid chelates have higher efficiency in regard to fertiliser application and plant uptake. Field trials are showing the application rate required of chelates is about half of the simple sulfate salts. 

• Amino Acid chelates may have the potential to enhance : 

     • Yield  

     • Quality  

     • Crop vigour     

For more information please view the Ortus Product Label or Safety Data Sheet