Thonar, Cécile; Lekfeldt, Jonas D.S.; Cozzolino, Vincenza; Kundel, Domimika; Kulhánek, Martin; Mosimann, Carla; Neumann, Günter; Piccolo, Alessandro; Rex, Martin; Symanczik, Sarah; Walder, Florian; Weinmann, Markus; de Neegaard, Andreas and Mäder, Paul (2017) Potential of three microbial bio‑effectors to promote maize growth and nutrient acquisition from alternative phosphorous fertilizers in contrasting soils. Chemical and Biological Technologies in Agriculture, 4 (7), pp. 1-16.
Agricultural production is challenged by the limitation of non-renewable resources. Alternative fertilizers are promoted but they often have a lower availability of key macronutrients, especially phosphorus (P). Biological inoculants, the so-called bio-effectors (BEs), may be combined with these fertilizers to improve the nutrient use efficiency.
The goal of this study was to assess the potential of three BEs in combination with alternative fertilizers (e.g., composted manure, biogas digestate, green compost) to promote plant growth and nutrient uptake in soils typical for various European regions. Pot experiments were conducted in Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland where the same variety of maize was grown in local soils deficient in P in combination with alternative fertilizers and the same set of BEs (Trichoderma, Pseudomonas, and Bacillus strains). Common guidelines for pot experiment implementation and performance were developed to allow data comparison, and soils were analyzed by the same laboratory.
Efficiency of BEs to improve maize growth and nutrient uptake differed strongly according to soil properties and fertilizer combined. Promising results were mostly obtained with BEs in combination with organic fertilizers such as composted animal manures, fresh digestate of organic wastes, and sewage sludge. In only one experiment, the nutrient use efficiency of mineral recycling fertilizers was improved by BE inoculation.
These BE effects are to a large extent due to improved root growth and P mobilization via accelerated mineralization.
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