Links to TED talks about microbes and the human genome – parallels to how it works in the soil and crops
Soil Microbiology has always been acknowledged as an important component of Agronomy. Unfortunately, all the focus in soil microbiology has been on just the bad things microbes do, primarily fungal and bacterial infections of plants. Crop protection products (fungicides, herbicides and pesticides) have always been the first choice in agronomy to combat and control plant pathogens. There is no argument that they have been effective and powerful tools for agriculture. Microbiology, however, is poised to become just as powerful a tool in terms of crop growth and protection. We have learned more about soil microbiology in the last few years than we have in all of science history. Not only in terms in how microbes function as pathogens, but more importantly how microbes function in a symbiotic way that directly contributes to and influences plant health.
The obvious benefits of healthy soil microbiology are well documented. Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR), and their benefit have been discussed in the literature for decades. PGPR compete with pathogens, alleviate abiotic stresses, augment nutrient uptake and produces hormones, vitamins and cytokinins for the plant or tree.
Science has developed a number of new tools to more accurately measure soil microbiology. Unfortunately, using these analytical tools, we can see many of the processes required by production agriculture to farm efficiently and economically impact soil microbiology. Fungicide and pesticide applications, fertilization and chemical weeding have all demonstrated they impact soil microbiology.
Now understanding the broader role microbes play in crop production and plant health, a good strategy to take steps to support soil biology should be part of any agronomic program.
The American researcher William Albrecht (German-born) showed that for there to be balance in the soil and crop to get the best possible start to grow, there must be balance between all the elements – see figure
In Sobec we are helping to create the balance by stimulating natural soil microbiology and microbial activity.
William Albrechts model for balance in the soil