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  • Nasser Syed, PhD

Do leaf bacteria impact plant health?

Microbes that live in the phyllosphere, the aerial part of a plant, react to changes in their environment and may help the plant adapt and protect itself. Similar to the rhizosphere, the area surrounding the plant just below the soil surface, improving the microbiome is important to plant health and productivity. Typically, leaf bacteria consist of Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, and Bacteroidetes species. These microbes are often seen as plant-protecting probiotics. EnviroKure’s BioStim has been shown to enhance the plant phyllosphere when used as a foliar product and have a positive influence on plant growth, though the exact mechanisms (MOA) are still unknown and under investigation.  EnviroKure team continues to study the MOA, with a goal to expand its product portfolio to improve the phyllosphere-aided benefits.


In a recent experiment, we found preliminary data indicating positive changes in the microbial community on the leaf surface after treatment. We treated corn plants in pots with a product at a rate equivalent to 3 gallons per acre at a growth stage V4. Although this data is preliminary, it suggests the beneficial effect of BioStim as a foliar application. While this research was performed in a controlled environment, we expect similar results in the field. We are expanding these studies to better understand the increase in chlorophyll and its effects on plant growth and efficiency.


The most noticeable change in the leaf microbiome was in Methylobacteria family, which are considered beneficial for several reasons:

 

  1. Promotion of Plant Growth: They can influence plant growth positively by producing phytohormones, substances that help regulate plant growth and development.

  2. Nutrient Acquisition: Some species of Methylobacteria can participate in nitrogen fixation, converting atmospheric nitrogen into a form that plants can readily use, though they are not as well-known for this as other nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

  3. Pathogen Resistance: There is evidence that Methylobacteria can help plants resist certain pathogens, potentially by competing with harmful microbes or by stimulating the plant's own defense mechanisms. Additionally, Methylobacteria will attract complementary microbes that will also support pathogen resistance.

 

We are excited about these findings and are using this new information to develop new products with enhanced efficacy. 


For more information about using BioStim in your foliar program, give us a call at 215-289-9800.

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