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Products extracted from soil bacteria could be an alternative to expensive agricultural fertilizers – Global Issues

Extracted from natural microorganisms, probiotics provide the same benefits as chemical fertilizers while minimizing the environmental impact of agricultural systems, according to the authors. CREDIT: Jorge Luis Baños / IPS
  • Idea by Esther Ngumbi (urbana, Illinois, USA)
  • Joint press service

To avert the ongoing fertilizer crisis, farmers in developed and developing countries are the same, can be converted into other substitutes, such as microbial products. Extracted from naturally occurring microorganisms, including billions of beneficial bacteria living in the soil near plant roots, probiotics provide the same benefits as chemical fertilizers while reducing the environmental impact of agricultural systems.

Moreover, scientific evidenceproduced over many years including both long-term and short-term studies have shown that these bacteria when applied directly to seeds can improve crop growth, nutrition and yield. For example, a 10 years long term field study performed in Germany showed that beneficial microorganisms increase the growth of corn plants and the availability of phosphorus – and essential plant nutrients – in the soil. In Italy, beneficial microorganisms in the soil improved tomato yield. United States,

Due to their popularity, microbial preparations are currently worth 12.9 billion dollars. Complementing their popularity is an increase in the number of startups and companies developing and commercializing microbial products. Including AgBiome, dark blue, Novozyme, Corteva, BASFand Bayer.

Furthermore, these bacteria can provide other benefits to plants, including helping them Drought tolerant and hot temperatures are becoming more common with climate change. Furthermore, they can increase the defenses of plants against crop damage insect. These products are also environmentally sustainable Integrated crop management.

Cost wise, in the US, for example, microbial products are relatively priced, from $30 – $100 per gallon.

Of course, there are still some challenges including inconsistent results and concerned that these products could eventually become invasive.

As fertilizer prices continue to escalate, we must invest in understanding and harnessing these natural microorganisms to improve crop yields.

Like we are investing in fertilizer productionThere is a need to invest in science aimed at understanding beneficial soil microorganisms and the mechanisms underlying microbial growth that facilitate improved plant growth.

Probiotics could be the next sustainable tool to break dependency on fertilizers.

Dr. Esther Ngumbi is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and a Senior Fellow in Food Security at the Aspen Institute, New Voices.

© Inter Press Service (2022) – All rights reservedOrigin: Inter Press Service

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