Chemical pesticides are falling out of favour with consumers and regulators alike. There’s never been a clearer need to maintain plants and crop health in a way that’s sustainable and keeps the balance of the farm ecosystem in check.
That’s where biocontrol comes in. A natural solution, biocontrol is an alternative to chemical pesticides that’s gaining traction year on year – by 2025, it’s estimated that the market will be worth $10 billion. But what’s fuelling this growth and why should companies targeting the agricultural, food and related industries take note?
The role of Nitrogen in the production of crops is well known and, therefore, the use of nitrogen fertilizers has increased in recent decades to generate serious environmental and health pollution situations. Faced with this reality, the European Commission has launched the Green Deal to promote more sustainable agriculture, in which it has been proposed to reduce excess nutrients by 50% and the use of fertilizers by 20% by 2030, among other measures. Terramin® Pro is Bioiberica's new biostimulant based on a high concentration of high-quality L-α-amino acids that enhances the autochthonous soil microbiota, optimizes natural resources and fertilization, improving the efficient use of nutrients, and in particular of nitrogen.
The following article shows the results of an exhaustive comparative study of both analytical characterization and agronomic efficacy of 4 biostimulant products from different sources of raw material (animal and plant origin) and methods of production (chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis). Regarding the analytical characterization, the results show a greater degree of hydrolysis and a more complete and balanced amino acid profile of the Terra-Sorb® biostimulant compared to other products of plant origin and chemical hydrolysis. The high degree of racemization of biostimulants of plant origin is also indicative that at some point in the process there has been a chemical treatment (acid hydrolysis) while the Terra-Sorb® product (enzymatic hydrolysis) is the only one that maintains a high proportion of L-α-amino acids. On the other hand, in the comparison of the agronomic efficacy carried out under a test model in pepper and saline stress, it becomes clear how the variable quality depending on the origin and method of obtaining determines the agronomic efficacy of the amino-based biostimulants. The test reveals how the highest productive yield of the Terra-Sorb® biostimulant in saline conditions is due to the free amino acid content of the product and not to a simple nitrogen supply. In addition, equating application doses according to the percentage of free amino acids, it is revealed that other bioactive compounds of the Terra-Sorb® product would enhance this greater tolerance to stress observed in the treated plants.
In order to characterize the effect of Inicium®, the aerial and underground development of pepper plants not treated and treated with the biostimulant of root application was monitored. The results showed an incentive effect of growth in the post-transplant phase for plants treated with INICIUM®, which is visualized in early growth of the root system. This effect appears to be associated with the production of finer and longer roots, which would provide a larger surface of water and nutrient absorption, and with a greater root activity. This incentive effect has led to a production of leaves, flowers and fruits significantly higher and earlier in Inicium® treated plants with respect to Control.
Mass trapping arose in Spain in the 90s as an effective alternative to the extensive application of insecticides which until then had been taken as the only affordable strategy to control fruit flies. Aerial or localised insecticide dusting programmes ended up unbalancing agricultural systems, harming useful fauna, and implies risks for the health of the applier and the end consumer. The use of liquid food lures like Cera Trap® has two added advantages. Liquid lures do not need to use any insecticide substance in their formulation or use. Since they work by emitting volatile protein compounds they tend to mostly attract females (reproductive agent and responsible for damage to the fruit) unlike sexual pheromone compounds which mostly attract males. In comparison to a programme of reiterated insecticide treatments, the strategy of mass trapping with Cera Trap® can significantly reduce the infestation on the plant as well as damage to fruit to an even lower level than the standard insecticide programme (e.g. synthetic pyrethrins) with the extra advantage of reducing chemical waste, the creation of resistance, and the economic and environmental cost of managing insecticide active substances as well. Recently, the mass trapping system has slowly been replacing programmes of recurring insecticide applications, turning into a complementary tool within integrated pest management (IPM) and offering an effective and economically viable option for the optimal control of fruit flies.