The use of Biostimulants in agriculture is driven by the growing need to improve the yield and the quality
of crops avoiding the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers according to the Integrated Pest and Crop Management.
Microbial inoculants, humic acids, fulvic acids, protein hydrolysates and amino acids, seaweeds extracts represent the main classes of Biostimulants.
The microbial inoculants include free living fungi and bacteria, specific isolates as well as complex mixtures from a fermentation process.
Humic acids and fulvic acids, usually associated, can form molecular aggregations in the soil and interact with soil nutrients.
Protein hydrolysates and amino acids, derived from the hydrolysis of several sources, may act as root growth promoting and change the actual structure of the root system.
Seaweeds extracts containing phytohormones such as auxins, cytokinins, gibberellin may modulate some processes to have an higher productivity , since such substances are involved in cell division, in transport of nutrients, in seed germination, in growth regulation and in breaking bud dormancy.
Despite the technical scientific progress, the molecular identification of the active components from these complex mixtures (along with their extracting methods) is still critical to understand “who’s doing what“ as well as to choice of a suitable timing of application to obtain beneficial effects.
Another point still to be challenged is to make longer shelf-life formulations protecting the biological active components from the environmental conditions without affecting their long term stability and their use in combination with the traditional agrochemicals.
To date the market of Biostimulants has been highly fragmented in several national trends, but recently the EC set out a road map to create an harmonized legal framework for these substances within the revision of the Fertilizers Regulation (EC) N. 2003/2003. However we should wait until 2022 for the full implementation of this revised Regulation…