How to Reduce Chemical Fertilizer & Herbicide Use with Bioaugmentation

Sustainable agricultural practices are widely accepted as an alternative to the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides. As the main agents for breaking down organic material and recycling nutrients, microorganisms interact with plants at the root level, and in turn, influence growth and nutrition of the entire plant.

Plants are further affected by other variables such as temperature, moisture, and most importantly, pathogens. Pathogens cause serious diseases in plants resulting in yield loss. Fungal diseases that are soil borne are evolving and becoming more resistant to the fungicides currently being used, fueling the need for alternatives. A natural and environmentally friendly option is to apply a microbial supplement of scientifically selected microorganisms that will colonize the plant roots and displace the pathogens. The beneficial microbes colonize the rhizosphere. As they grow, a biofilm is formed on the plant root that acts as a physical barrier to unwanted organisms. This close association between the plant and these bacteria ensures the plant will reap the additional benefits of the augmented microorganisms

Selected strains out-compete native strains for nutrients, reducing the proliferation of unwanted microbes that do not benefit the plant. By introducing these strains that are hyper producers of different enzymes, pathogen attracting compounds naturally exuded by the plant are sequestered and utilized for growth of the augmented strains. The consumption of pathogen attracting compounds essentially makes the plant invisible to pathogens.

Phosphorous is a major macronutrient needed for plant growth, but is not easily accessible to benefit the plant. Phosphorous is reactive with iron, aluminum, and calcium resulting in the precipitation of phosphorous, making it unavailable to plants. The bacteria in our Microcat-AG can convert phosphorous into a form easier for the plant to access, such as orthophosphate.

Potassium is another major macronutrient needed for plant growth. Microbial strains in Microcat-AG have the ability to solubilize potassium and makes the potassium more readily available for plants. Iron is another important but scarce nutrient in soil. The bacteria in Microcat-AG can produce compounds called siderophores. These siderophores acquire ferric iron in the soil so root cells can utilize the iron by active transport mechanisms.

In summary, augmented microbes cycle the nutrients found in the soil and solubilize minerals, making them more available for the plant. The microbes colonize the plant, suppress pathogens, and feed the plant, all while promoting its growth.


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