Soil hosts a plethora of microbial organisms, representing one of the most unknown and complex ecosystems on Earth. Soil microorganisms (including bacteria, fungi, and protozoa) can interact with plants in both positive and negative ways. Plants provide carbon to microorganisms through root exudates and organic matter residues. Microorganisms, on the other hand, provide nutrients to plants through mineralization and solubilization of different elements and can promote plant growth by producing different types of phytohormones. In contrast, some microorganisms could also be detrimental to plant development by competing for nutrients, causing diseases, increasing stress, and generally reducing the resilience of the plant.
Naturally, the soil microbiome is of great interest in agricultural soils. However, with billions of microbes that metabolize millions of different molecules, it can be challenging to analyze. Nonetheless, researchers have recently developed solutions that make it possible to determine the microbial makeup of the wider, complex soil ecosystem to provide in-depth knowledge. This helps us to better understand how the soil microbiome impacts plant development, soil health, and crop yields.
For instance, soil microbiome characterization allows us to identify the specific activity of nutritional pathways, such as nitrogen mineralization and phosphorus solubilization among others, which provide plants with available nutrient forms. Considering the effect of soil microbial quality on crop yield, quality, and sustainability, the functional soil microbiome analysis is an exciting addition for farming. Detailed soil microbiome analysis enables assessing and proving out of the effects of many types of Ag inputs that may enhance crop quantity, quality, and nutrition. Furthermore, this detailed analysis allows Ag input manufacturers to benchmark their products.
In the same way that benchmarking is supported by impartiality, microbiome-based claims, when conducted by a third party, can be verified by an independent player.
We will look in more detail at how soil microbiome analysis can effectively measure the effects of Ag inputs. First, we will examine the challenges faced by Ag manufacturers, including the difficulty in getting accurate data and keeping strategies scalable. Then, we will discuss how soil functional analysis can provide accurate data about the efficacy of products. Soil microbiome analysis is creating exciting opportunities for every stage in the supply chain, so read on to learn more.