THE POWER OF THE
IT IS IMPORTANT TO OBSERVE NATURE AND LEARN FROM IT HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THE POWER OF THE “GOOD” MICROORGANISMS.
The agricultural soil is one of the most complex ecosystems, which has undergone a global change with the advent of the modern agriculture. Whilst such agriculture increases the production, it simultaneously puts a new pressure on the resources and interferes with the balance of the system, reducing the autonomy of the production process and – unfortunately – even its sustainability. Among the worst consequences, we must consider the biological disorder escalation, which takes the form of an abnormal expansion of pathogenic organisms and parasites with a parallel hummus depletion in soils. Moreover, in this context, there are instances of specific replant disease, one face of the more general issue of soil sickness, which – apparently under control several decades ago – is nowadays the cause of considerable damage and higher production costs.
The indiscriminate abuse of chemical molecules during the last decades has determined an addiction in fungi, insects and bacteria that now need to consume higher and higher doses of chemical active substances, which – besides causing potential risks to the consumer – have become almost completely ineffective with time.
- Insects such as Ceratitis capitata, Drosophila suzukii, Bactrocera oleae, Cacopsylla pyri, Halyomorpha halys
- Fungi as Brown spot of European pear, Esca, Black rot and Fusarium oxysporum, etc
- Phytoplasmas and bacterial wilt
CAN ONLY BE EFFECTIVELY FOUGHT WITH NATURAL ANTAGONISTS.
Starting from such a clear and precise guidance, AKRON SRL has set the direction of its research and experiments, expanding its investments and structures with the aim of developing breakthrough products from the modern biotechnologies, able to be effective in the multiple setbacks that daily affect agricultural crops. The AKRON research team wanted then to create a series of fermented products in order to support the recovery of the microbiological part of the soil, limiting the use of chemical substances and obtaining better products from the health standpoint.
A microbial cell is able to produce an extremely high number of complex molecules. Furthermore, microbial cells do not usually pose any danger for the consumer and have great ability to tackle the main pathogens. These ways of counteraction are normally manifold and do not result in resistance. Microorganisms colonize the environment by sticking to the surface through the production of BIOFILM. It represents an extremely effective system to prevent other microbial populations to occupy the same space. Inside the BIOFILM, the microbial population is hierarchically structured.
The main action mechanisms implemented by the microorganisms are:
- Antibiosis. Production of substances with an inhibiting action against the pathogen (non-specific metabolites, lytic enzymes, volatile fatty acids, other toxic substances);
- Parasitism. Production of substances that harm the cell integrity;
- Food and space competition;
- Induction of resistance in the host.
The use of biotechnologies – with the implementation of symbiotic microorganisms such as MYCORRHIZAE, TRICHODERMA, RHIZOSPHERE BACTERIA, ETC. – constitutes the only tool that restores the perfect balance of the soil-plant system. For example, beneficial fungi (Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma) establish a symbiotic relation with the plant roots, helping them absorb nutrients and water from the soil and receiving in exchange organic matter (sugars, proteins, vitamins). Where Mycorrhizae develop, plants are healthier, more vigorous, and less subject to environmental stress. Mycorrhizae and Trichoderma has proven to be beneficial for strengthening the development of plants and providing them a better ability to defend against pathogenic fungi. Entomopathogenic fungi too, such as Beauveria, are naturally present in soils worldwide, where they live as saprophytes feeding on decomposing matter. The Beauveria bassiana is a fungus that is part of the Ascomycota class. It is an endophytic and parasitic fungus with a cosmopolitan distribution, colonizing a large number of insects. For this reason, it is widely used in agriculture, particularly in the process of biological control. Colonies in the growing medium appear of a white color and with a cottony aspect. The spore germination – which verifies in specific nutritional and environmental conditions – take place in 3 distinct steps: the swelling of the spore, the hyphae growth and their elongation.
Metarhizium spp is a fungus that mainly lives in moist soil. It is a natural parasite of arthropods, both in their adult and larval phase. It represents one of the few organic insecticides that carries out a double action mechanism: it acts both by contact, infecting insects, and by using its own toxin called dextrusin which kills insects.
The implementation of the above-mentioned fungi, as demonstrated by some experiences, ensures an optimal control on many species of terricolous phytophages (such as the beetle and other coleopterans of melolontha family, weevils of otiorhynchus family, and other curculionids, tipulae, elateridae, etc.) both in their larval and adult phases. They also provide a good control on phytophages of the aerial apparatus (such as the Colorado potato beetle, some species of aphids and cochineals), reaching a level of activity equal to the one carried out by bioinsecticides in soils with good moisture levels and when the temperature is within the range between 10° and 28°C.
The presence of microorganisms can be traced not only in the rhizosphere (soil-roots) but also in the phyllosphere (leaves-atmosphere) and inside the plant tissues (endophytic connection).
WHY USING MICROORGANISMS?
- Remarkable enzymatic synthesis ability;
- Multiple modes of action;
- Need of small amounts of energy;
- Optimal environmental adaptability;
- Absence of environmental impact;
- Ample space for research.
This new era of implementing biological means – which has already started and rife with real prospects of succeeding – requires though a more professional approach from the agricultural operator and a greater understanding of the plant and how it interacts with the external environment and with all the biotic factors that engage with it.
- Increase in the extension of the root system and of its absorbing potential;
- Overcoming of post-transplant crisis;
- Increase in the resistance against fungal and bacterial diseases;
- Improvement in the absorption of soil macro elements (N, P, K) and micro elements;
- Reduction of stress due to water scarcity, thermal imbalances and transplant crisis;
- Reduction of the problem linked to chemical residues in food (for ex. nitrates in leafy vegetables) and environment;
- Increase in antioxidants.