3. The use of organic biostimulants to help low input sustainable agriculture.
Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 1, (2), 1991, pp. 19-42
Organic farming maintains soil quality better and reduces contamination of air, water, soil, and final food products, but much research is needed to determine how to maximize the integration of organic practices.
Methods of increasing fertilizer efficiency must be investigated.
The approach to increasing crop productivity is the development of non-polluting organic biostimulants. These compounds increase plant growth and vigor through increased efficiency of nutrient and water uptake. Definitions for biostimulants vary greatly and there are still some arguments surrounding these compounds. However they are defined as on-fertilizer products which have a beneficial effect on plant growth.
Many of these biostimulant materials are natural products that contain no added chemicals or synthetic plant growth regulators. The initial empirical image of these compounds is changing.
An overview of some of the individual components of the biostimulant blend is given in this paper.
Studies were aimed to test different concentrations (dilutions) of the biostimulant.
Research at the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies has developed, a new biostimulant (ROOTS). The product consists of a mix of humic acids, algae extracts, a non-hormonal reductant plant metabolite, and vitamins. This blend greatly increases root and top growth of plants, while decreasing fertilizer requirements up to 50% in a number of species (coffee, several grass species, pines, Douglas-fir, Gliricidia). The biostimulant also increases resistance to low soil water potential and possibly residual herbicides in soil.
The organic biostimulant, ROOTS, seems to offer a significant opportunity to increase plant growth, according to findings from current university research and field trials. Improved root and shoot growth, better root growth potential, and better stress resistance seem to be consistent with other results. The most important possibility for the future of this organic biostimulant, may be its ability to cut down chemical fertilizer without affecting growth. Preliminary research showed that in the presence of the biostimulant, coffee seedlings treated with the half amount of fertilizer yielded the same shoot biomass and higher root biomass than those fully fertilized.
1240 92 - 12/66
Europe, Netherlands, field study, high input agriculture, low external input agriculture, nitrogen cycling, nitrogen balance, nitrogen mineralization, nitrogen immobilization, denitrification, microbial biomass
VAN FASSEN, H.G. and G. LEBBINK
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