Evonik Industries is working on a biostimulant that will allow farmers to cut their fertilizer use in half while saving 93% of their crops. official website of the company.
Biostimulants provide plants with nitrogen from the atmosphere with the help of bacteria that enter the plants through the leaves. They stimulate natural processes in plants and soil, increasing nutrient uptake and absorption, increasing root surface area and soil quality.
The nitrogen they emit is already in the atmosphere, avoiding the creation of additional greenhouse gases. As such, they are a greener alternative to more intensive fertilizer use, while delivering similar yields.
In greenhouse tests conducted by Evonik, plant root growth was 31% better when using the proposed mixture of 50% Evonik fertilizers and biostimulants compared to a conventional mixture of 100% fertilizers. However, the shoot part of the plant, the plant biomass (excluding roots), was 93% of the plant biomass treated with the conventional fertilizer mixture.
Evonik found that plants treated with biostimulants "resist better abiotic stresses (e.g. heat, drought, salt) and the root reaches more nutrients and can take up more water."
The company collected a variety of micro-organisms from plants in extreme habitats - nutrient-poor arid areas or heavy metal-contaminated soil - and identified the nitrogen-fixing bacteria of these micro-organisms using stress tests. By clearly identifying the DNA of these bacterial strains, they discovered the potential to create biostimulants that would make plants more resilient to any climatic conditions.
Reducing the use of fertilizers through biostimulants will be an option for companies looking to find ways to reduce their chemical costs. In addition, storage of biostimulants is predicted to be possible for several years, although stability testing has not yet been completed. The final product will be a liquid packaged in canisters or other containers.