Beneficial Soil Microbes
Beneficial soil microbes cause a number of specific plant benefits. These benefits include; larger, healthier roots, nutrient processing, and secretion of plant growth regulating substances. This post will discuss each of these plant benefits in greater detail.
Beneficial Soil Microbes Grow Larger, Healthier Roots
There are a number of bacteria that help promote plant growth and they are sometimes called Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGBR). PGBR are defined as rhizospere inhabiting bacteria that have a positive effect on plant growth and plant health. There are several genera that are considered PGPR including, Bacillus, Azospirillum, and Pseudomonas.
Beneficial bacteria, such as Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus megaterium, produce a class of chemicals called cytokinins. These cytokinins impact roots by overproduction of root hairs and and lateral roots. This, in turn, provides the plant with an increased ability to take up water and nutrients. So, as expected, a larger healthier root system provides for a healthier plant.
Enhanced Nutrient Processing
Bacteria process a wide variety of chemicals. Often times taking in inorganic compounds and metabolizing them into organic compounds. The bacteria need phosphate for DNA and RNA synthesis and for production of ATP. The benefit to the plant of this processing is the conversion of the phosphate from an insoluble form to a soluble one. Since insoluble phosphate is inaccessible to the plant, this processing by bacteria is invaluable to the plant.
Bacteria Produce and Secrete plant Growth Regulating Compounds
Along with the cytokinins, mentioned earlier, bacteria produce a number of beneficial growth compounds that convey a plant benefit. These include plant hormones (sometimes called phytohormones) and auxins. Together phytohormones, cytokinins, and auxins regulate plant growth, root size, and fruit formation. Ultimately, its the beneficial bacteria that either produce these compounds or induce the plant to produce these compounds.
Custom Biologicals manufactures a wide variety of biological products for use in environmental applications. Our agricultural products include Custom B5, a blend of 5 beneficial bacteria that convey the specific plant benefits mentioned above. Contact Custom for more information.