How biotechnology alleviates the effects of drought on crops
01 September 2022, US: Droughts are a climate phenomenon that has become more pronounced as the consequences of climate change become more evident. They are becoming increasingly frequent and severe.
In the last four decades, the percentage of plants affected by water shortages has doubled. Approximately 12 million hectares are lost each year due to drought, which leads to the desertification of agricultural land.
Only 2.5% of the earth’s water is fresh. Given that, according to FAO, between 2,000 and 5,000 liters of water are needed to produce food consumed by one person in a day, the efficiency of water, soil and crop nutrition use is key.
One of the aims is for plants to react in the best way to the consequences of extreme temperature increases or decreases and to persistent drought. In short, to the effects of what we already discussed in other articles, such as “abiotic stress”.
In this context, biological products provide solutions for agriculture in extreme climatic situations and for optimizing the absorption of nutrients and water by plants. Symborg responds to the challenge of climate change and the improvement of sustainable crop nutrition through biotechnology.
The biostimulants that Symborg develops are based on the benefits of microorganisms, acting on the plant’s natural biochemical processes and enabling them to improve the absorption and assimilation of nutrients, thereby optimizing crop productivity in terms of both quality and quantity.
BIOLOGICAL INOCULANTS WITH GLOMUS IRANICUM VAR. TENUIHYPHARUM
Glomus iranicum var. tenuihypharum is a beneficial fungus that forms mycorrhizae. If you aren’t familiar with this term of Greek origin, allow us to explain it to you. It’s the relationship between some fungi and plant roots. This symbiotic association with the plant provides the fungi with sugars in exchange for nutrients and water. The result of the exchange is a greater activity of the crop’s biological processes so its yields and qualities grow in the same way.
When faced with drought conditions, the effects of this fungus are also manifested by measuring the efficient use of water (via the water use efficiency index, WUE). Nowadays this is a highly studied and well-regarded index, in which the amount of photosynthesis is related to the rate of water transpiration. Plants treated with Glomus iranicum var. tenuihypharum can generate a greater amount of biomass with the same amount of water.
As can be seen in this trial performed on lemon ‘Fino’, the WUE levels are higher in the specimens inoculated with our mycorrhizal-forming fungus. Both 75 days and 150 days after inoculation, our specimens were statistically different compared to the control.
In addition, Glomus iranicum var. tenuihypharum has other benefits for the plant. One of them is the increase in photosynthetic activity, which increases CO2 uptake to form photo-assimilates. As shown in the previous lemon ‘Fino’ trial, CO₂ absorption levels were much higher in specimens treated with our mycorrhizal-forming fungus.
The application of Glomus iranicum var. tenuihypharum is compatible with the vast majority of crops and suitable for all types of agriculture, including organic farming and protected areas.
Glomus iranicum var. tenuihypharum is present in our MycoUp, MycoUp 360, Resid HC and Resid MG solutions. Biostimulants incorporating this mycorrhizal-forming fungus have the following positive effects:
- Fast and effective colonization at the root.
- Increased water absorption by the plant.
- Balanced nutrition and optimization of fertilizers.
- Increased quantity of plant reserves.
- Greater photosynthetic activity.
- Positive action on the hormonal balance of the plant, achieving an increase in the root system, as well as better setting, ripening and quality of the fruit (Brix grade, firmness, gauge, etc.).
The direct benefits that the farmer sees in their crops are higher production, better quality fruit and commercial sizes, and better physical, chemical and microbiological properties of the soil.
Also Read: 2022 Norman Borlaug Award to Indian Scientist Dr. Mahalingam
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