Global crop-enhancement provider Ralco recently said that its Agnition products stimulate microbial activity in soil, including colder soil, providing greater phosphorus availability and reducing purple-leaf syndrome in corn.
In several U.S. regions, corn growth has been slow, and plant leaves have acquired a purple tint because of cold soil conditions. The purple coloration in leaves is due to an accumulation of sugars produced by photosynthesis. The sugars would typically be utilized by the plant for root growth and development.
Agronomist Pete Hallberg said that when microbial activity is reduced, root development is reduced, and that lowers the phosphorus uptake by the plant.
“This inhibits the plants ability to metabolize sugars in the leaf and causes purple-leaf syndrome,” Hallberg said. “Since microbial activity greatly influences the uptake of phosphorus, utilizing a microbial catalyst to stimulate microbial activity is very important.”
Phosphorus plays an important role in plant growth, but it is commonly working in the soil, which reduces uptake. Since phosphorus is mainly cycled through the soil by organic residue breaking down and becoming incorporated into the soil organic matter, microbial activity is required to release the nutrient.
"The microorganisms form a connection with the plant roots," microbiologist Rachel Raths said. Once this happens the fungi can mine for phosphorus in the soil and transport it back to the root. Ultimately this brings the macronutrient into the plant, and when microbial activity is increased, phosphorus is more readily available."
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