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May 21, 2024 in News
By Acadian Plant Health

Growers have long known that a delicate balance between physical, chemical, and biological factors influences yield, crop growth, and crop success.

Soil health greatly determines the ability to grow healthy, productive crops. Using an Ascophyllum nodosum-based biostimulant such as Stella Maris® as part of an integrated strategy aims to enhance crop and soil management practices. By improving communities of soil microbes, soil health and crop productivity have the potential to reach peak performance.

 

The rundown on soil health.

Soil health is a measure of the capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem, sustaining plants, animals, and humans. The Soil Health Institute has identified three measurements as crucial indicators: 1) Soil aggregation, 2) Increased soil organic matter, and 3) Active soil microbes (carbon mineralization).

The abundance and diversity of soil microbes can influence plant growth and productivity and play a vital role in plant health. They aid in nutrient cycling, better soil structure, increase soil’s water-holding capacity, and more.

 

Digging deeper into soil health.

Microbes in the rhizosphere called arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) colonize more than 80% of land plants, including crops.

AMF form symbiotic relationships with plants; the AMF need a host plant to create carbohydrates and carbon. Carbon derived from roots during growth and then as root residues play a critical role in increasing soil carbon. In return, AMF extends the reach of the plant’s root system. This provides the host plant with better nutrient access, water access and retention, stress tolerance, and protection against pathogens.

AMF also benefit soil with better aggregation and structure, which aids in storing water, nutrients, and soil carbon.

 

What happens when soil microbes team up with biostimulants?

Evidence shows that applications of Acadian Plant Health™ Ascophyllum nodosum seaweed-based biostimulants increase biodiversity, biomass, and microbial activity in the rhizosphere.

 

Acadian seaweed extracts improve microbial abundance and growth through multiple mechanisms:

  • Soil Microbe Activity GraphSoil respiration is linked to soil’s ability to cycle carbon and nutrients.
  • Increased plate counts indicate Acadian products support greater microbial abundance.
  • Increased ATP indicates a rise in living microbes.

 

Root Nodulation Graph

[1] Kahn, W., Palanisamy, R., Critchley, A. T., et al. (2013). “Ascophyllum nodosum Extract and Its Organic Stimulate Rhizobium Root Nodulation and Growth of Medicago sativa (Alfalfa).” Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 44(5), p. 900-908.

This study measured the effects of Ascophyllum nodosum applications on nitrogen-fixing nodules and alfalfa growth.[1] The Ascophyllum nodosum biostimulant treatment increased the number of functional nodules per plant, indicating more nitrogen fixation and increased root length and biomass.

 

extent of colonization graph

Both soil and foliar applications of Ascophyllum nodosum increase AMF colonization, germination, branching, and growth. Ascophyllum nodosum enhances mycorrhization through AMF growth and stimulation of the plant’s accommodation of the rhizobia. Together, they promote the establishment of this vital plant-microbe symbiosis.

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[2] Hines, S., van der Zwan, T., Shiell, K. et al. “Alkaline extract of the seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum stimulates arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and their endomycorrhization of plant roots.” Sci. Rep. 11, 13491 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-93035-9

 

Benefits of bioactive compounds.

Acadian’s alkaline-extracted biostimulant Stella Maris contains complex bioactive compounds that encourage optimal soil health:

Benefits of bioactive compounds bulletpoints

 

Benefits of Acadian biostimulants:

  • Increase soil microbial activity, biodiversity, and biomass
  • Increase and support healthy root growth
  • Promote organic carbon content in soil through increased root biomass
  • Increase AMF growth
  • Increase soil aggregation and improve soil structure
  • Promote root nodulation
  • Build plant resiliency against abiotic stress
  • Enhance availability and uptake of nutrients and water

 

The path to victory.

Without soil health, there is no plant health. Adding Stella Maris to crop management plans can unlock synergies to enhance crop productivity, increase soil health, and lay the groundwork for future yields.

Find out how at acadianplanthealth-na.com/resources/soil-health/


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