Bugs in a Jug: making the best use of Microbial-Based Biostimulants (MBBS)

Recent years have seen a proliferation of commercial microbial products that are claimed to improve crop yields and quality through direct interactions with plant roots and/or by enhancing soil organic matter and soil food web function.  However, efficacy can vary with product quality, soil type and current soil conditions, crops grown, and farming system.  How can a farmer tell which product will be effective, and how to use it for best results?  While the risks of direct harm to crop or environment appear minimal for microbial products, spending money on a product that is ineffective constitutes a risk for any farming enterprise.

Dr. Matthew Kleinhenz and colleagues at Ohio State University are conducting research into a range of commercial Microbial-Based Biostimulant(MBBS) products at multiple sites in an effort to answer these questions.  In addition, they maintain an interactive web site designed to provide a “Portal to reliable Research- and Experience-based Information regarding Microbial-based Biostimulants(MBBS) and their Use in Commercial Vegetable Production,” at http://u.osu.edu/vegprolab/research-areas/vegebiostimsferts/. The home page provides links to recent and ongoing research, an interactive database of information on MBBS products, and an e-mail listserv, which provides an opportunity to interact with other growers, researchers, and vendors on this topic.