Press Releases

VFRC Releases Report on Micro-organism/Plant/Soil Relationships

January 6, 2014 – WASHINGTON, D.C., USA – The Virtual Fertilizer Research Center has released the first paper in its 2014 series of reports that explore the basis of the Center’s research agenda. The report, “Beneficial Organisms for Nutrient Uptake,” written in cooperation with scientists from Wageningen University and Research Center, describes organisms with which plants can have beneficial relationships.

“This review about beneficial soil organisms for plant nutrient acquisition reveals the fascinating beauty of soil biology and the amazingly complex interactions among plants, soils, micro-organisms and nutrients,” says Prem Bindraban, VFRC Executive Director.
Generally speaking, micro-organisms may help plants to better scavenge several nutrients from the soil and reduce hazards such as drought or toxicity against heavy metals. Some micro-organisms can keep away harmful organisms, improving plant fitness. Some micro-organisms are even considered to be biofertilizers. Therefore, maintaining a diverse population of micro-organisms by adequate management (including prevention of overuse of mineral fertilizer) may be beneficial in the long term.
The strong and multiple interactions imply, however, that human interventions targeting the exploitation of specific beneficial aspects would be highly specific regarding plant species, soil, micro-organisms and nutrients. The beneficial impact of currently available inoculants seems to vary greatly due to these complex interactions, and various commercially available products may lack rigorous scientific evidence explaining their impact. Yet some generic findings may give leads for interventions for increased nutrient uptake via micro-organisms. For instance, with specific nitrogen-fixing bacteria, evidence is overwhelming that interactions between plants and micro-organisms are beneficial for nutrient supply to plants. Furthermore, partial application of nutrients through leaves may help to reduce the negative impact of soil fertilization on symbiosis between plants and beneficial micro-organisms.
Hence, understanding the world of soil microbiology and exploiting it to the benefit of more sustainable production remain worth investigating.
Click here to read VFRC Report 2014/1.
The Virtual Fertilizer Research Center (VFRC) was created in 2010, as a semi-autonomous unit of IFDC, to fast-track the development of a new generation of rapidly deployable technologies that will enable responsible and sustainable food security, particularly in the world’s developing regions. The Center is collaborating with a global network of partners to conduct coordinated research under a unified technology agenda. Working with its partner network in a virtual setting, the science-based, global Center is creating the environment and platform that will allow rapid and affordable technology dissemination into the world market.

VFRC Contacts:

Prem Bindraban
Clyde Beaver (Media)
James Thigpen (Media)
256/381-6600 ext. 248
256/381-6600 ext. 344