Scientists at Rutgers University have proven how a range of crops can harness the beneficial bacteria contained in Serenade Soil Activ to benefit nutrition, growth and resilience.
This world-first research is being led by professor of the Department of Plant Biology at Rutgers University, New Jersey Dr James White.
His research shows how plants ‘farm’ bacteria to extract and absorb nutrients, which has significant implications for the future approach to crop nutrition.
The new discovery of rhizophagy or ‘root eating’, is the process of how plants use microbes to extract their nutrients. This process starts when actively growing roots release exudates, such as sugars, which attracts beneficial bacteria to the root tips.
Dr. White has proven the beneficial bacteria in Serenade Soil Activ soil ameliorant are absorbed into the root cells where the plant can remove nutrients contained inside their walls. The bacteria are then replicated and ejected back into the soil where they continue the cycle to source nutrients, matched to the crop demand.
Certain soil nutrients are favored in the rhizophagy cycle, despite the fact all nutrients are supplied. These often include manganese, iron and magnesium which are critical to forming chlorophyll and maximizing photosynthesis, plus calcium and boron, which are critical for building cell strength.
Replicated studies conducted by Rutgers show substantial increases in manganese (increase of + 27 per cent), calcium (increase of +15 per cent) and boron (increase of +18 per cent) in soybeans, following the application of Serenade Soil Activ.
The rhizophagy process is also critical for building resilient crops, as described in “Teaming with bacteria” by Jeff Lowenfels.
Mr Lowenfels suggests dealing with rhizophagy is like training the plant to deal with other stresses.
Dr. White explains plants which work to extract nutrients oxidatively through rhizophagy, become hardier than plants solely reliant on nutrition from synthetic NPK fertilisers. Also, rhizophagy builds stronger plants as the nutrient form is optimal for utilization by the plant.
Rutgers University has demonstrated the rhizophagy cycle with Serenade Soil Activ on avocado, macadamia, almond, hazelnut, tomato, lettuce, carrot, onion and cabbage crops. Each strain of bacteria have vastly different capabilities to supply nutrients in rhizophagy.
So, what does this all mean for agriculture?
Fundamentally, it changes our understanding of how plants source nutrients in a healthy soil and highlights the importance of soil biology.
According to Dr. White, this knowledge opens the door to developing a new approach to agriculture based on microbes, that is not only better for agriculture but also for human health.