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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ORGANIC AND REDUCED INPUT FRESH MARKET SPECIALTY CROP PRODUCTION SYSTEMS FOR THE SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS Title: Efficacy of microbial amendments on vegetables in greenhouse and field trials

Authors
item Russo, Vincent
item Fish, Wayne

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 6, 2012
Publication Date: March 28, 2012
Citation: Russo, V.M., Fish, W.W. 2012. Efficacy of microbial amendments on vegetables in greenhouse and field trials. HortScience. 47(3):349-355.

Interpretive Summary: The use of beneficial microbes, or materials made from microbes may improve plant development and crop yield under organic conditions. The efficacy of these materials needs to be established. In a greenhouse experiment the amendments Actinovate AG (registered), Bio Inoculant (registered), Bio-S.I. (registered), Compost Tea (registered), Mpact (registered), 'PMSLA and EO-12' (registered), Soil Activator (registered), Super Bio (registered) was applied to seedlings of a bell, cv. Jupiter, and a non-pungent jalapeno, cv. Pace 105 at rates and timings according to label directions. The control was weekly application of an organic fertilizer. Various measurements were recorded to determine their effect on plant development and fruit yield. Along with the control the amendments Bio-S.I., Compost Tea, 'PMSLA and EO-12' and Soil Activator generally produced bell pepper plants that at harvest were taller and heavier than those produced by amendments Actinovate AG, Bio Inoculant, Mpact and Super Bio. Fruit yield and nutrient content were not affected by treatment. The conditions of growth or possible antagonistic interactions may explain why treatment with some of the amendments produced plants that were smaller than for plants treated with other amendments. Additional work is needed to determine if these results can be translated to the field.

Technical Abstract: Soil amendments, with and without microbes, may affect plant development. Eight-week-old, organically grown, seedlings of a bell, cv. Jupiter, and a non-pungent jalapeño, cv. Pace 105, pepper (both Capsicum annuum L.) were transplanted into pots in a greenhouse using an organic potting medium. One of eight amendments - Actinovate AG ®, Bio Inoculant (registered), Bio-S.I. (registered), Compost Tea (registered), Mpact (registered), 'PMSLA and EO-12' (registered), Soil Activator (registered), Super Bio (registered) was applied to groups of plants at rates and timings according to label directions. The materials are mixes of microbials or are derived from fermentation by microbes and may, or may not, have nutritional components. Three plants from each treatment were periodically harvested and heights and total fresh and dry weights determined. At a single terminal harvest numbers and weights of fruit and nutrient content of fruit were determined. Effects of amendments segregated into two groups for bell pepper heights and fresh and dry weights. Along with the control (weekly application of an organic fertilizer) the amendments Bio-S.I., Compost Tea, 'PMSLA and EO-12' and Soil Activator generally produced bell pepper plants that at harvest were taller and heavier than those produced by amendments Actinovate AG, Bio Inoculant, Mpact and Super Bio. The amendment Bio-S.I. produced more bell pepper fruit than the control, Bio Inoculant and Mpact. These fruit were heavier for the control than for those on plants treated with Super Bio and Mpact. Heights for cv. Pace 105 treated with Compost Tea were similar to the control and fresh weight of plants were similar for the control, Compost Tea and Bio-S.I. Dry weight and number and fresh weight of fruit were not affected by amendment. Nutrient content was not affected by amendment. Some amendments appeared to be detrimental; it may be that greenhouse conditions are not the optimum environment for their use. The amendments need to be tested over various crops and field production systems.

Last Modified: 12/29/2014
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