07 Apr The Power of Microbials: What do we mean by Probiotics for Plants?
Here at Biolink, we’re great believers in the power of microbials.
Whether we’re talking about farmers trying to make a sustainable living or backyard gardeners increasing their self-sufficiency, we’re all looking for better ways to grow healthier plants.
Nutrient deficiency is a serious problem
Every day, we speak to farmers who are looking for ways to increase the yield of their crops without resorting to chemical fertilisers. And the trend towards having food growing in suburban backyards continues to take off.
But the soil in many areas is simply not in good condition.
Nutrient deficiency in the soil can be due a few main reasons:
- A lack of essential minerals and nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, oxygen.
- A concentration of harmful substances in the soil. Substances like chemical fertiliser and pesticides or high concentration of salt or heavy metals.
- Various external conditions like drought, lack of exposure or overexposure to the sun, rotting roots.
Nurturing healthy soil is one of the most important steps towards farm sustainability and household self-sufficiency.
Biology helps to unlock minerals trapped in the soil
In current conventional agriculture, we haven’t had a focus on looking after soil biology. It’s been about mineral nutrition and how we can use the soil to grow food.
We at Biolink think we need to take into account the 3 pillars
- Chemical minerals
- Structural (humus)
- Biology – helps support both chemistry and structure
When we put microbes or probiotics into the soil, they work to extract and break down the bonds. This allows the minerals to be made available by the beneficial Mycorrhizal fungi. Mineral bonds like iron-phosphate are broken down as these fungi break the bond and allow access to the phosphorus.
In traditional farming, we’re usually applying phosphorus. Unfortuately, it’s locked up, unavailable to plants. By putting probiotics into soils, we can release this finite resource.
3 main reasons why healthy is soil so important for plant growth
- Healthy soil strengthens plant resistance to disease, especially in variable climates
- It holds moisture and makes the most of the available water sources
- It stimulates plant growth and increases the quality of food
The power of microbials in soil to promote healthy plant growth
You’ve probably heard how probiotics are good for humans?
People take probiotics in the form of supplements. Probiotic strains are also found in fermented foods such as yoghurt, cheese, milk and milk powder.
According to this Harvard Health article, probiotics are live bacteria that can treat and even prevent some ailments. In particular, they help digestion problems (like diarrhoea, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome).
You can read more about the benefits of probiotics in this 2013 research paper.
Probiotics for plants has been researched in Australia and overseas.
According to Professor Susanne Schmidt at the University of Queensland, probiotics for plants show potential. But growers should base their decisions on science, not ‘hype’.
“Those who are looking for a silver bullet may be disappointed. Probiotics are not going to solve all problems. But they certainly have potential to help agricultural industries to step up to the challenge of feeding our growing global family.”
Bio fertilisers can give your plants a serious boost
As more people start to use our microbial-based products, we are seeing very positive results. Crops including maize/corn, sugar cane, cereal and tree crops all benefit from using probiotic fertilisers.
Based on research from here and overseas, we’ve blended six key microbials. Researchers and farmers in the field have found that all six boost plant growth.
The 6 powerful microbials in Biolink organic fertiliser and soil stimulants are:
- Entercoccus Faecalis
- Lactobacillus Group
- Pediococcus pentosaceus
- Aspergillus Group
- Saccharomyces cerevisiae
- Bacillus subtilis Group