AMF, a natural symbiotic fungus increases fertilizer efficiency
AMF is the acronym for Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi. Over 90% of terrestrial plants naturally live in symbiosis with mycorrhiza. While the fungus gets fed with biological building blocks (as fatty acids and sugars), the fungus supplies nutrients like salts to the plant. In symbiosis with the host plant, the accessible soil volume is massively increased and nutrients are actively transported into the host plant. This symbiosis is nature´s solution for scarce nutrients. Our product facilitates the utilization of this natural approach of yield increase in conventional agriculture.
Advantages of AMF use in agriculture
ENHANCED CROP YIELD
- Increased Volume lavel of soil
The active nutrient uptake via AMF improves the plants nutrient uptake (+175-190%; Li-Ping et. al. 2009) and thus naturally enhances the overall crop yield. Nutrient losses by washout of e.g. Phosphorus (33%) and Nitrogen (36%) are approximately cut in half, to 15-16%. Consequently, fertilizer application can be reduced by 15% and crops benefit from enhanced growth and increased biomass.
LESS FERTILIZER LOSS
- Increased nutrient uptake efficiency
Plants get their nutrients from the soil the root can access. Consequently, a high nutrient concertation in the soil leads to a higher crop yield than a low nutrient concentration. However, this correlation is limited by the capacity of the soil to retain nutrients. Rain water takes the nutrients into a lower soil level. There, the nutrients are out of reach for the plant roots. Plant roots can actively transport nutrients from the soil in the range of only 1 mm around the circumference of the root. The structure of the mycelium of mycorrhiza is far more delicate than the macroscopic plant roots and can reach much more of the given soil volume. Plants that form a symbiosis with mycorrhiza increase their accessible soil volume 4-15-fold (Jansa et al 2003).
INCREASED WATER EFFICIENCY
- Increased lavel of Water
Furthermore, the symbiosis with AMF increases the crop’s resistance to disease and its tolerance to draught. Independent studies have demonstrated that AMF treated crops show an approximately 20% higher crop yield than untreated crops (Subramanian et al, 2005; Torres-Barragàn 1996). This yield increase owned to AMF is even more pronounced under increasingly arid conditions. Water is bound and consequently retained within the soil horizon accessible to the plant via Glomaline (Biopolymer), produced by AMF.
Conventional AMF products
Conventional production methods for AMF include greenhouse or flask-based production. These methods rely on up numbering the production vessels instead of upscaling.
Pricing for the customer is high due to the high manual effort necessary for conventional mycorrhiza production. The manual labor is required by the unscalable production methods that are currently in use. In spite of the high price, the concentrations of the active ingredient (spores) within the product is rarely specified. This makes the price comparison of the current products very hard, not only for customers.
LOW PROCUCT QUALITY
Current mycorrhiza products are sold worldwide. Yet, they contain different AMF species and are highly contaminated for the most part. Additionally, the actual concentration of AMF (spores) in the product is rarely specified.
GREEN HOUSE APPROACH (IN VIVO)
Whole plants are inoculated with mycorrhiza and grown in green houses in a growth substrate. In symbiosis with the plant, both parties grow. The fungus multiplies in the growth substrate. At the end of the growth period everything is let to dry, the green parts of the plant are removed and the substrate including plant roots and mycorrhiza is homogenized. Quality control is very limited due to limited control over the environment. However, the remains of the growth substrate lead to a rather undefined final AMF product, containing substrate remains but also various biological contaminations.
FLASK APPROACH (IN VITRO)
A more advanced approach is based on growing plants without green leaves under sterile conditions. A bacterium, agrobacterium is used to naturally transform the plant root. This transformed root can grow without leaves or green parts. These transformed roots, "hairy roots” are not genetically modified, since agrobacterium tranformations naturally occur. The necessary nutrients for the root are supplied via liquid or solid growth medium. The roots in the medium are inoculated with AMF and spores will form to get harvested later. This approach allows the production all year round, independent of climatic conditions and vegetative cycles. The downside of this process is the requirement for substantial amounts of manual labor.
Evoloigc AMF production technology
BIOREACTOR APPROACH (IN VITRO)
Evologics patented Hairy root production process enables the production of AMF in a bioreactor. This bioreactor can be scaled up instead of the usual upnumbering. With this approach, very little manual labor is needed. This design allows to tap into the benefits of the economy of scale and yields in a production at disruptive costs. At the same time, the sterile production conditions enable the product to free of contaminants. In house quality control assures matching concentrations needed for the end product.
Evologic AMF product
DISRUPTIVELY LOW COST
This approach allows to use the economy of scale since the amount of manual labor stays constant even for a production run at > 50m3. Hereby, we are transferring bioprocess control and -optimization routines originating from pharma industry to achieve high product quality.
HIGH PRODUCT QUALITY
The bioreactor based design allows for contaminant free production. Moreover, we have been investing substantial effort in establishing novel methods of analysis in order to ensure product quality and quantity.This allows the application of the quality of design principles starting at lab-scale to ensure a high-performance product at an unrivaled low selling price.
Evologic will render the usage of AMF an imperative from an economic and an ecologic point of view – We go back to the roots - for the sake of our food and our environment.
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