The R&D department of Agribios Italiana has been focusing for a while now on the development and formulation of solid and liquid fertilizers inoculated with useful microorganisms. There is extensive scientific literature demonstrating the usefulness of enriching the rhizosphere of numerous agricultural crops with microorganisms that perform specific activities. The benefits include:
improvement of the biological fertility of the soil in the area adjacent to the roots;
positive influence on soil microbiome balancing;
more efficient nutrition and better plant health.
As part of the Terrapiù line by Agribios Italiana, there are two liquid products with a biostimulating function, and inoculated with useful microorganisms. They are able to perform various functions, including establishing antagonistic relationships against pathogens and developing mycorrhizae on the roots of crops.
Microtech Start and Microtech Power
Microtech Start and Microtech Power are fluid organic fertilizers to be used respectively in the initial stages of cultivation (pre-emergence, post transplantation or the vegetative recovery of multi-year crops) and during the cultivation phases of all herbaceous and tree crops.
Obtained from plant materials and through an exclusive enzymatic hydrolysis process, they provide the main elements of nutrition (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the case of Microtech Start and only nitrogen in the case of Microtech Power), organic carbon, enzymes, sugars, levogiro-amino acids, peptones, mycorrhizes and bacteria from rhizosphere useful for plants (PGPR, nitrogen-fixers etc…).
The microbial consortia inoculated in Microtech Start (Trichoderma harzianum, Trichoderma viride, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus megaterium, Azospirillum, Stremptomyces and other microorganisms) and Microtech Power (Trichoderma harzianum, Trichoderma viride, Azospirillum, Azotobacter, Pseudomonas and other microorganisms), biostimulate the crop during its various phenological phases, and improve the absorption of the nutritional elements provided or already found in the soil but not used, while creating a protective barrier against pathogens around the roots.
Microtech Start and Microtech Power are both allowed to be used in organic farming.
Microtech line: tests on Solanaceae
The tests conducted for Agribios Italiana by two different testing centres during the 2021 season, on industrial tomatoes and potatoes, have demonstrated the effectiveness of these two products in improving yields and/or specific qualitative parameters of the two Solanaceae. The results are summarized below.
Microtech Sart applied to tomatoes improves plant physiology and product quality
In collaboration with the Soc. Coop. Terremerse (Bagnacavallo, RA), during the 2021 season, the effectiveness of Microtech Start was tested on the yields and quality of industrial tomatoes cv HEINZ 5108 at the commercial farm Cooperativa Agricola Braccianti Campiano (Borgo Faina, RA), on a micro-irrigation plot, with a predominantly silty land, cultivated in combined rows, with 32,700 plants/ha and in compliance with the provisions of the Integrated Production Regulations of the Emilia-Romagna Region.
The two theses compared included a test sample not treated with Microtech Sart, and a duplicate to which the product was applied in fertigation about 3 weeks after the transplant (occurred on 17/04/2021). All other cultivation techniques were similar in the two theses.
Spring was characterized by low temperatures and wind, unfavourable conditions for the correct vegetative development of the plants. Furthermore, since no localized starter fertilizer was administered to the transplant, the developmental difficulties in the first month after planting were evident. The visual monitoring of the crop showed that just 2 weeks after the application ofMicrotech Start, the development of the thesis treated resulted significantly greater, and became even more evident one week later.
The measurements taken at the harvest (which took place on 03/08/2021) indicate that, although the total production did not increase, the saleable production (red fruits) was significantly higher, about 12.5% more than the test sample. The waste was almost zero in both theses. It can be deduced that the use of Microtech Start makes it possible to speed up the development of plants and partially recover the delays due to cold seasons or suboptimal soil conditions, thus obtaining a greater saleable production, without any increase in rotten fruits or waste.
It is also interesting to note that in the AGRIBIOS thesis the average weight of the fruits is higher (+13.9% compared to the untreated one), since it shows how, despite an early ripening period, the fruits have not been affected by loss of size and, on the contrary, have been able to reach higher values.
Microtech Start applied to tomatoes increases production and root biomass
Once again in 2021, in collaboration with Landlab (Quinto Vicentino, VI), the effectiveness of Microtech Start was evaluated on the Diabolik cv industrial tomato.
The test was set up in the open field, using containers with a capacity of 0.4 m 3, filled with LS73 substrate (70% sand + 30% soil). The transplant was given solid fertilizer and then each seedling was irrigated. Microtech Start was manually applied to the soil at two different doses (5kg/ha and 10 kg/ha), in two theses compared with the untreated test sample. Irrigation and defense were managed as needed.
To evaluate production performance, the following measurements were taken:
NDVI, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. The index estimates the vigour of plants (vegetative mass).
Fruit yield. The harvest was carried out in two steps, the first consisted of collecting only the ripe fruits, while the second in dividing the fruits into ripe, unripe and non-marketable.
Brix degrees. Parameter that measures the amount of solid substance, mainly acids and sugars, present in the fruit.
Firmness. Parameter that measures the ripeness level of the fruit based on its consistency.
Mycorrhizae count. 60 days after the transplant, a plant for each plot was eradicated and, after appropriate sampling and treatment of radical fragments, the level of mycorrhization present was analyzed under a microscope.
Aerial and radical biomass. These surveys were carried out initially by weighing the plants used to count the mycorrhizae, and subsequently by weighing the remaining plants at the end of the growth cycle.
The test results indicate that the dose of 10 kg/ha of Microtech Start is optimal for maximizing the effectiveness of the product. In fact, at this dose:
the total production of ripe tomatoes recorded is +8.5% compared to the control;
there is a slight increase in the average weight of the fruit and a simultaneous reduction of unripe and non-marketable fruits;
there is an increase in dry root biomass which, despite having a mycorrhizal colonization that is unstable over time, is considered to be attributed to the global effect of useful microorganisms inoculated in Microtech Start.
Microtech Start and Microtech Power applied to potatoes improve yields and starch content
In collaboration with Landlab, a test was conducted on the effectiveness of Microtech Start and Power when applied to the cv. Marabel potato. The tests took place in the open field at the Commercial Farm Cascina Mattarello in Camisano Vicentino (VI), between March and August 2021.
The theses compared were as follows:
Control, with the same level of nutrients as the theses treated
Microtech Power 40 kg/ha: application every 14 days
Microtech Power 40 kg/ha: application every 21 days
Microtech Start 10 kg/ha (applied to the soil at sowing) + Microtech Power 40 kg/ha every 21 days.
The surveys carried out entailed:
NDVI, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index and drone images. The images captured at different times of crop development, associated with the calculation of the NDVI index, with the intended purpose of calculating the vigour of the plants (vegetative mass).
Production. Number and weight of tubers, divided by size.
Under-water weight. Parameter used by the industry to verify the quality of the tuber and its final destination. It’s an indirect measure of the percentage of dry matter contained in the tuber through the measurement of density. Higher values indicate a higher content of dry matter and therefore of starch.
Since the tuber yield (>75 t/ha) was very high in all theses, any positive effects deriving from the application of the two products may be less obvious. Despite this, all three theses using the Microtech line saw increased yields, with the best results (+5.2% compared to the untreated test sample) in the case of Microtech Start 10kg/ha at sowing + Microtech Power 40 kg/ha every 21 days, which was also the only thesis capable of increasing the marketable fraction of the product. The data relating to Under Water Weight also indicate how the aforementioned thesis is able to increase the starch content by 2.77% compared to the untreated test sample, and how the application of Microtech Power alone, every 21 days, can actually increase it by 7.08%.
Would you like to more about the tests described in this article?