Impacts and Mechanisms of Biostimulants on Soil Health and Crop Yield
Expansion of arable farming and use of synthetic chemicals (fertilisers and pesticides) are expected to increase to feed the ever-growing global population. However, in many developed countries further increase in chemical fertilisers do not translate to increased farm yields. In addition, excessive and inappropriate use of synthetic chemicals has led to detrimental impacts on human and environmental health including widespread water pollution, constrained soil biological activity and accelerated greenhouse gas emissions. Global food demand is expected to increase by 70% by 2050. Given the lack of productivity gain from further chemical inputs, new non- conventional sustainable farming approaches may be required to increase the food production. In addition, increase in farm productivity needs to be obtained with minimum impacts on the environment. Use of biostimulants alone or in combination with synthetic chemicals provide a promising alternative to sustainably increase crop yield via improving soil health. However, the extent and mechanisms by which biostimulants improve soil health and farm productivity is not fully known. The aim of my research is to evaluate the impact and mechanisms of biostimulants on key soil biological health components under different farming systems, consequences for yields of different crop types and their activity under stress conditions.
Prof Brajesh Singh, Dr Catriona Macdonald, Dr Eleonora Egidi