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  • Nasser Syed, PhD

What is the Phyllosphere and why does it matter?

Updated: May 27

By Nasser Syed, PhD, Principal EnviroKure Scientist

The phyllosphere, or the aerial part of a plant, is home to a variety of microbes, many of which benefit the plant. These microbes have adapted to survive on the leaf surface, and understanding these adaptations could help us improve plant growth. Studies have shown that under the right conditions, complementary microbes can activate the plant's basic defense systems, making it more resistant to diseases.

Plant leaves are an abundant part of the phyllosphere and primary site for photosynthesis in most plants. Chlorophyll, the green pigment found within plant cells, plays a central role in photosynthesis, converting light energy into chemical energy. Photosynthesis and nitrogen fixation via leaves may be improved by interactions with phyllosphere microbes, possibly through chemical signals that are not yet understood. But, in general, increasing chlorophyll and phyllosphere microbiota is beneficial to plant growth.

In a recent experiment, we did a foliar treatment on corn plants with BioStim at a rate equivalent to 3 gallons per acre at a growth stage V4. We found preliminary data indicating an increase in leaf chlorophyll levels (see charts below) and a 17% increase in the microbial community on the leaf surface after treatment. We measured leaf chlorophyll with a portable analyzer and examined the DNA of leaf surface microbes before and after the treatment.

In field trials adding BioStim to the foliar tank mix at rates of 1-3 gallons per acre improved yields by 2-14%.

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

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