Biostimulants Deep Dive

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Biostimulants Deep Dive

According to the European Union, a plant biostimulant is “a product that stimulates plant nutrition processes independently of the nutrient content with the sole aim of improving one or more of the following properties of a plant or plant roots: (A) efficient use of nutrients. (B) abiotic stress tolerance; (c) plant and fruit quality; (d) nutrient availability confined to soil or roots.”

Definition of Biostimulants

  • A biostimulant is a substance that has a positive effect on the growth and health of the plant. It is neither a fertilizer nor a pesticide.
  • When used in small quantities, it promotes plant growth and development even when the plant is not responsive to traditional fertilizers.
  • A biostimulant is an organic compound that has a direct effect on plant physiology:  Metabolic processes, respiration, photosynthesis, plant response to external factors such as heat, humidity, stresses, etc.
  • The functions of stimulants are active at the level of cells and different organs of the plant which produces these vital compounds after absorbing and converting the elements of traditional fertilizers through   microphysiological processes. Therefore, biostimultants are considered a direct nutritional intake for plants.

Why are biostimulants used?

  • To promote the growth and development of the whole root systems of plants
  • Activate the plant’s defense mechanisms
  • Improve the absorption of elements and reduce the use of fertilizers
  • Maintain the plants’ hormonal balance
  • To provide resistance against external factors that lead to plant stress. For example, extreme heat and humidity

Advatages of using Biostimulants

  • Increase of the shelf life of fruits
  • Reduction of pests and diseases
  • Adaptation and overcoming of the plant stress
  • Improvement of the quality of the crop
  • Crop increase

What does a Biostimulant do?

  • Help to catalyze the photosynthesis process, the growth stimulant
  • Help multiply plant cells
  • Increase the speed of plant growth.
  • Strengthen the root systems, for a strong and thick stem and branches
  • Improve the nutritional status and elements’ absorption
  • Boost the flowering process and prevents the loss of nodes.
  • Make plants healthier
  • Reduce the plants’ needs for irrigation
  • Reduce the use of fertilizers and nutrient deficiency
  • Reduce the amount of needed pesticides
  • Increase the resistance of the plant to cold, thirst and heat and it
    eliminates all stresses in order to produce a high-quality crop

Growth Biostimulants

Agricultural bio-catalysts are fine combinations of well-developed and studied nutritious elements, used either by leaf spraying or through irrigation systems. They are used at certain stages of crop growth and for specific purposes, such as improving the physiological processes of crops, making them more efficient and effective, improving the blossoming process and nodding of the plant to increase production, as well as create natural plant resistance against harsh climatic factors such as extreme heat, salinity and drought, or agricultural pests, etc.

The effectiveness of biostimulants in increasing production and reducing biological stress to the least possible and increasing the quality and quantity of the product is an added value to the farmer in terms of plant nutrition and protecting the plant from diseases and insects, so when using biostimulants, one must take into account several factors related to agricultural techniques.

Product formula:

  • Manufacturing methods: The product must be free of salts, sulfates, chlorides and nitrates
  • Chemical form of components: Balance in the formula of the product taking into account the compatibility or inconsistency with other products
  • Stability of the formula: component stability
  • There are several categories of biostimulants:
    • Humic acid
    • Fulvic acid
    • Protein hydrolyzates
    • Seaweed extracts
    • Micro-organisms

Spraying technique

  • Maintenance of equipment: Fix the spray machine and the diameter of the nozzle:
    • It should not be thin 100µ ø and therefore cause evaporation
    • It should be of medium size 200 µ<Ø <350µ and not as thick as ø >400µ to avoid water runoffs and inefficiency
  • Amount and Quality of water
    • The “ideal” pH is 5.5 to 6.5, so you should pay attention to the water’s hardness and its concentration of calcium ions
  • Spraying period
    • The temperature should be lower than 25 degrees and the humidity lower than 50%
  • Time of spraying
    • It should be done in the afternoon

When should we use biostimulants?

Biostimulants are used following the plants’ diagnosis.

  • When diagnosing the lack of nutrients on different parts of the plant and taking into account the prevailing climatic conditions
  • After looking for any fungal or insect attacks and diagnosing all parts of the plant, the stems, leaves, roots and fruits
  • Plant growth phase: At the beginning of growth cycles and of fruit-bearing and after plantation to improve the growth of the roots
Maryse Bou Zeid

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