They are effective, they have low environmental impact and they remain an unknown factor so far: what do biostimulants contain?
We know the origin: humic substances, plant extracts and algae, growth promoters (PGR), amino acids and protein hydrolysates. These are the most used biostimulant categories in agriculture for fruit and vegetables and open field crops.
Their effectiveness is demonstrated by many studies. They act in fact on the metabolism of plants by improving:
- resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses
- absorption of nutritive elements
- radical development
- quality of products
But what are the active components? What is the mechanism of action?
Active components and their effects in many cases still remain to be identified.
There are several reasons:
- variability of the raw material used, which is reflected on the main active components (N, lipids, carbohydrates, minerals); moreover, the range of raw materials used is constantly increasing
- presence of added substances (for commercial purposes) together with the natural ones: this complicates identification and evaluation of the effect of the various substances
- various mechanisms of action, in synergy, that help to determine the response of the crop
Identifying the active molecules and their mechanism of action is crucial for at least three reasons:
- commercial defense of products to evaluate the declared quality
- optimization of the production technique (stability and permanency over time of biostimulants)
- improvement of the application strategy in the field: in general, low doses are preferable, but they vary according to species, cultivar, plant development phase, environmental conditions.
At the state of research, the future development of biostimulants depends on the identification of the content and, in particular, on two interrelated factors:
– analytical characterization of the substances present in the extracts obtained from the raw material to evaluate the content of the formulations: speed, sensitivity and accuracy of the high resolution methods
– the so-called omic sciences: transcriptomic, prothemic, metabolomic.
Renolab is a specialist in developing methods for the analysis of natural origin products also. You can ask for more information or a quote.