Biostimulants based on soil bacteria to promote plant growth

Intensive agriculture and overuse of chemical fertilisers lead to environmental pollution. One of the most promising measures to make crops more sustainable is the use of biostimulants. These products are based on micro-organisms or organic mixtures that promote plant growth and help them better draw in and more efficiently use nutrients. The UB team led by Rubén Alcázar, professor in the Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Science, is developing a biostimulant product based on bacteria isolated from natural soil.

After analysing over 185 bacteria from the earth, the researchers have selected five rhizobacteria that improve plant growth in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana. The goal now is to assess the effects of these candidate organisms on various crops, such as tomatoes, rapeseed, soya and rice, in greenhouse conditions.

The formulation based on micro-organisms has significant advantages over other biostimulants, as it changes the plant’s microbiota. Furthermore, the bacteria-based product being developed by the UB team also meets the provisions of the new regulation the European Commission will soon introduce to regulate the market for this type of products. Plus, biostimulats are compatible with organic agriculture.

Bosch i Gimpera Foundation, the knowledge and technology transfer office of the UB, has granted this project €25,000 through the Fund for the Promotion of Innovation (F2I) programme, which will allow them to validate the effects of the product and establish the optimal dose and application method.

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