Microbial consortia increase productivity and sustainability in agriculture

Research proves that combinations of microorganisms increase crop yields and mitigate environmental stress, highlighting the potential of biopesticides and biofertilizers in Brazil

21.05.2024 | 08:57 (UTC -3)
Cultivar Magazine, based on information from Cristina Tordin
fungus - Photo: Adilson Lopes Lima
Mushroom beauveria bassiana - Photo: Adilson Lopes Lima

Researchers highlight the benefits of using microbial consortia in plant growth. This practice surpasses traditional inoculation methods with single species. The combination of microorganisms, such as Bradyrhizobium e Pseudomonas oryzihabitans, increased soybean yield by 11%. Furthermore, it promoted more robust root growth and better nutrient accumulation.

Recent studies have revealed that consortia involving mycorrhizal fungi and the fungus beauveria bassiana significantly improved cotton growth. These combinations increased protein and carbohydrate contents and reduced caterpillar growth. Spodoptera littoralis. The synergy between different strains of Beauveria resulted in 100% moth mortality Plutella xylostella. A consortium of two strains of B. bassiana showed greater effectiveness against caterpillar larvae Duponchelia fovealis.

Research indicates that microbial consortia are effective in mitigating abiotic stresses, including heavy metals, water deficit and soil salinization. For Embrapa Environment analyst Gabriel Mascarin, beneficial microbes act as biopesticides, biostimulants and biofertilizers. They contribute to the health and sustainability of crops, aligning with the principles of regenerative agriculture.

The use of microbial consortia is gaining recognition for their stability under different environmental conditions and reduced application costs. This approach increases microbial biodiversity in the rhizosphere and phyllosphere of plants, contributing to a more balanced ecosystem. Studies indicate that microbial consortia help reduce pesticide residues. A consortium of Aspergillus versicolor and bacteria isolated from sewage sludge showed efficiency in the degradation of carbendazim and thiamethoxam molecules. Likewise, a consortium of Pseudomonas plecoglossicida and isolated from Pseudomonas aeruginosa efficiently degraded organophosphate insecticides.

Microbial consortia also demonstrate benefits in controlling plant diseases and promoting growth. In tests with chickpeas, the combination of Purpureocillium lilacinum e Rhizobium sp. provided protection against the nematode Meloidogyne javanica and promoted vigorous plant growth. In Brazil, a leader in the production and use of biological control agents, more than 70 million hectares were treated with biopesticides in 2022. The growing supply of biological products containing multiple species or strains highlights the importance of microbial consortia.

Peterson Nunes, a researcher at UFLA, believes that these advances point to a future in which precision agriculture and holistic plant health management become viable. He highlights that microbial consortia offer a sustainable solution for resilience to climate change, improved nutrient cycling and reduced environmental impact. As technology evolves, it is expected to play an increasingly important role in sustainable agricultural production.

Tomato plants grown in rhizotron originating from plants treated with a mixture of and
Tomato plants developed in a rhizotron originating from plants treated with a mixture of Bacillus subtilis e Bacillus licheniformis
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