Explanation of microbial amendments
Biopesticides and Biofertilizers
Biopesticides are products with a noted capacity to suppress pests or diseases. Both types of products may have microbial or biochemical origin. Microbial biopesticides include living beneficial bacteria, fungi, or nematodes whose activities directly or indirectly reduce disease or pest damage. The advantages of microbial biopesticides include their ability to reproduce to some degree following application, thereby allowing for a natural “bloom” of suppressive activities. Biochemical biopesticides may contain plant extracts, microbial fermentation products, phage, or other natural materials that do not grow and reproduce following application. The advantage of these materials is that rates of application and net responses can be more precisely controlled and predicted.
In contrast, biofertilizers (sometimes referred to as plant “strengtheners”) are products with noted capacities to improve plant growth and/or productivity but for which no specific claims regarding pesticidal activities are made. These products may have some capacities for pest or disease suppression, but their primary mode of action is thought to be related to their ability to directly enhance host nutrient status. Some products also contain phytohormones that may directly affect plant growth. Many such products are mixtures for which no single mode of action can be pinpointed as the basis for beneficial affects, and it should be noted that product quality is more likely to be variable for biofertilizers than for registered biopesticides where quality control is regulated.
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