Location: Bioproducts Research
Project Number: 2030-41000-056-11
Start Date: Oct 01, 2013
End Date: Jun 30, 2016
Increase use of fertilizers and pesticides compromises soil quality and contaminates ground water. Only 30-40% of applied fertilizer is used by plants. The rest is lost and contaminates the environment. Some soil microbes secrete compounds and enzymes that help plants fix nitrogen and solubilize nutrients. However, these microbes exist in low concentrations in soil. A novel matrix has been developed to encapsulate these microbes and offers an alternative to fertilizers and pesticides. The main objectives are to (1) further develop and optimize matrix formulations with encapsulated microbes for onion, strawberry, and tomato crops, (2) develop pilot scale production capabilities, and (3) conduct large-scale field trials with onion, tomato, and strawberry crops. These novel matrix formulations can enhance soil health and reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides that contaminate ground water. This will improve environmental performance of California specialty crop growers.