Soil degradation due to the excessive use of conventional fertilizers has a solution from biotechnology

octubre 3, 2022

Soil degradation is a process that world authorities have been warning about for several decades: deforestation, population growth, overexploitation and misuse of agrochemicals are the main factors. Social pressure towards environmental issues, due to some recent events, has increased, highlighting a growing problem but one that has a solution.

What are the main factors of soil degradation?

The health of the soil is intrinsically linked to the health of plants and, therefore, to that of people. Food security is extremely important in a world that is home to more and more people. Among the main factors that endanger soils are:

  • Deforestation
  • Pollution
  • Climate change
  • And unsustainable land management practices

Among the latter, the excessive use of conventional chemical fertilizers is one of the most problematic. This is because their use causes some of the most persistent and difficult problems to deal with: contamination.

Chemical fertilizers based on nitrate, potassium or phosphate salts contain these substances in large quantities. When bringing them to the ground, the water dissolves them and drags them until they are within reach of the roots. The problem is that a large amount of these react with other components of the soil, or are dragged out of the reach of the roots, so that they do not fertilize the plant, which is why they must be used in large quantities.

This implies using even more fertilizer, of which a large proportion ends up leaching into groundwater, or contaminating the soil making it unusable for cultivation. As we said, this unsustainable management process is usually a consequence of overexploitation, and it is increasing as the soil yields less. In this way, we achieve a degradation of the substrate in a few years. But this soil degradation has a solution.

Microorganism-based fertilization, an effective, productive and soil-friendly solution

Biofertilizers and other biological solutions, such as biostimulants, are products based on microorganisms or their components, grown and extracted in the laboratory for use in the field. These relatively new products, in fact, take advantage of the knowledge acquired in the last decades about the functioning of the soil and plant nutrition.

Before, for example, the immense role played by the soil microbiota, associating itself with the roots and providing them with nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which they obtain by fixing it from the atmosphere, the first, or by processing it from soil salts, was unknown. In turn, the bacteria obtain protection and food from the plant in a symbiotic relationship known as mutualism, in which all species benefit. In this way, biofertilizers, such as Bulhnova, take advantage of the most productive strains of microorganisms, stabilized in a product that is applied like a normal fertilizer.

However, these microorganisms only nourish the plant to the extent of its needs, without producing excess salts that can contaminate and degrade the soil. Over time, they can even help restore soil contaminated by nitrates and other salts. As if that were not enough, since its production does not depend on mineral deposits, its environmental impact, and its price, are more stable than conventional fertilizers. And these are just some of its advantages.

In short, biofertilizers are the spearhead of a change in the agricultural paradigm in which precision treatments are sought, rather than massive solutions that, in the long run, are worse than the very problem they were trying to solve. Biofertilizers are taking more and more prominence in a world that requires increasing care. Because health begins in the land that nourishes our crops.

Soil degradation due to the excessive use of conventional fertilizers has a solution from biotechnology