09/Aug/2022

#07

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Video with Dr. Lorena Barra, from INIA Chile: 

The biostimulant potential of endophytic probiotics

Several research studies have shown that facultative endophytic microorganisms have multiple functions both inside and outside plants, such as plant growth promotion.

In recent years, Chile has increased its use of pesticides and currently uses 4.2 kilos of pesticides per hectare, twice as much as the vast majority of OECD countries, which use an average of 2.1 kilos per hectare. Every year, 25 million people are poisoned by pesticides in the world and 20 thousand die. 

This scenario explains the growth of bioinputs and organic products, which are increasingly valued. There is greater investment in biotechnology businesses and the aim is to practice circular agriculture that leaves as little waste as possible. Dr. Lorena Barra, INIA researcher and biostimulant specialist, was part of Redagrícola's 3rd Online Series on Biostimulants and Biocontrol with her talk on "Endophytic probiotics and their potential as biostimulants".

Dr. Barra is leader of the Genetic Resources Specialty Group at INIA Chile and her main line of work is endophytic fungi for pest and disease control. She is also a specialist in biostimulants, agronomy and plant production. The researcher presented her talk at the Biostimulants and Biocontrol Series that Redagrícola has been conducting during the year, in preparation for the 2nd Congress on Biostimulants and Biocontrol to be held this September 28 and 29 at the Westin Hotel in Lima, Peru.

Several world and Latin American references in the area of bioinputs have participated in these online events, such as the Belgian Dr. Patrick du Jardin, the American Dr. Patrick Brown, the German Dr. Nicolaus von Wirén, the Colombian Dr. Alba Marina Cotes or the Brazilian Wagner Bettiol. Many of them will be part of the two-day program to be held in the Peruvian capital in September.

“There has been a break in the balance of natural systems when extensions of crops are planted, which has led to the appearance of pests, diseases and nutritional problems that are difficult to control because we stop looking at it as an ecosystem and see it as a means to achieve production."

The agronomist explained that there has been a break in the balance of natural systems when extensions of crops are planted. "This has led to the appearance of pests, diseases and nutritional problems that are difficult to control because we stop looking at it as an ecosystem and see it as a means to achieve production." Barra pointed out that traditional control measures are not working and "it is a challenge where biologicals could provide an answer".

Advantages of facultative endophytic fungi

The researcher added that endophytic microorganisms "help to resist pests, to tolerate variations in pH, temperature or relative humidity, in addition to promoting crop growth". Among endophytic microorganisms, there are obligate and facultative microorganisms, the latter being those that can be associated with the plant, performing functions from inside or outside of it. 



One of the advantages of facultative fungi is that they fulfill multiple functions. "Their entry into the plant can be through the roots, which are the ideal environment for their growth, or through the leaves, where they have less incidence in adverse conditions," said the researcher. Outside the plant and in the soil, they are involved in degradation, nutrient cycling and biological control, among other functions.

Regarding their action potential, the expert asked if "can a facultative endophytic probiotic act as a biostimulant?” Through several examples of research being carried out at INIA, she demonstrated that these fungi present different mechanisms that can help promote growth. "It has been proven that fungi and bacteria also increased, so we can say that endophytes prepare the bed for the arrival of other beneficial organisms," she concluded.

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To request more information or send communications about biologicals, write to biologicalslatam@redagricola.com.   

Biologicals Latam es una revista digital trimestral de Redagrícola que informa de manera especializada sobre la intensa actividad que se está desarrollando en el espacio de los bioinsumos para la producción agrícola. Esta publicación en español e inglés es complemento del Curso Online de Bioestimulantes y Biocontrol y las conferencias que este grupo de medios realiza en torno al tema.