Biostimulants are a category of substances that work to increase nutrient uptake and use in plants. They also improve plant quality and stress tolerance to weather, pests, and diseases. People call biostimulants by other names including plant conditioners, bioactivators, and bio enhancers, plant strengtheners, phytostimulants, bioactivators and soil, yield, crop and plant growth enhancers Currently, humic and fulvic acids constitute more than half of the biostimulant market, with seaweed extracts being secondary.
Definition of Biostimulants
Biostimulant is substance or microorganism that, when applied to seeds, plants, or the rhizosphere, stimulates natural processes to enhance or benefit nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress, or crop quality and yield. Biostimulant products are products are naturally derived. They consist of materials such as seaweed, acids derived from decomposed organic matter, and bacteria.
Benefits of Biostimulants
Biotstimulants foster plant development in a number of demonstrated ways throughout the crop lifecycle, from seed germination to plant maturity. They can be applied to plant, seed, soil or other growing media that may enhance the plant’s ability to assimilate nutrients and properly develop.
By fostering complementary soil microbes and improving metabolic efficiency, root development and nutrient delivery, biostimulants can:
- Increase yield in terms of weight, seed and fruit set.
- Enhance quality, affecting sugar content, color and shelf life.
- Improve the efficiency of water usage.
- Strengthen stress tolerance and recovery.
Seaweed extracts are liquids or solid form made from brown seaweed ascophyllum nodosum. Extracts of brown seaweeds are widely used in horticulture crops largely for their plant growth-promoting effects and for their ameliorating effect on crop tolerance to abiotic stresses such as salinity, extreme temperatures, nutrient deficiency and drought. The chemical constituents of seaweed extract include complex polysaccharide, fatty acids, vitamins, phytohormones and mineral nutrients.
Seaweed extracts help promote plant root development and growth. When growers apply seaweed extract to seeds or growing seedlings, transplants display increased root vigor. With these stronger roots, plants can better reach and absorb water and nutrients. Seaweed also improves plant tolerance to intense heat as well as frost.
Seaweed extracts not only improve plant growth, but they also improve soil conditions. They improve soil structure and encourage populations of beneficial microorganisms. Both of these increase plant growth.