Bioguide #5

Biostimulants: what they are and how they work

Activating beneficial microbial life to solve growing problems

Microbial biostimulants contain substances and/or micro-organisms which, when applied to plants or the root zone (rhizosphere), cause specific beneficial microbes to multiply. Increased populations of beneficial microbes can have a range of positive effects on plants, including:

  • Stimulating natural processes to enhance or benefit nutrient uptake and efficiency
  • Improving tolerance to biological (e.g. disease) or physical (e.g. weather) stress
  • Increase yield and/or quality.

Plant biostimulants can be applied either to the soil or the foliage depending on the target microbial population, problem or desired effect.

Soil biostimulants are catalysts that enhance the ability of soil microbes to ‘mineralise’ soil chemistry, making essential ingredients available to plants for optimum growth and performance.

Looking at the figure above, we see on the left the management tools growers use to enhance soil chemistry, such as adding compost, irrigating or applying lime to address a soil pH issue. Combined, these management practices nurture soil microbe populations for healthier, more active soil biology.

BioStart soil biostimulants, Mycorrcin and Digester, have been developed to further activate the naturally occurring soil microbes that live in the soil on your property. These products are ‘brewed’ using fermentation extracts made from beneficial microbes and a range of other nutrients. These and other biostimulants accelerate natural processes and can be applied at specific times to prevent or treat specific plant issues relatively quickly.

Examples of other soil biostimulants are humic acid, fulvic acid and seaweeds. As opposed to brewing under controlled conditions, these products are either mined from deposits on land or harvested from the sea. As a result, they can have a degree of variability, depending on where, when and how they were harvested and processed.

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