STAGE 7: The Formulations

Appropriate formulation is required for a high-quality product.  Microorganisms need tobe well protected to survive in high numbers in the formulation under variable andpotentially harsh conditions during storage.  During storage, high temperature istypically the most detrimental condition for the microorganisms.    Formulations are broadly divided into those using solid carriers or liquidformulations.  Choice of formulation depends on the microorganism, cost, shelf-life andapplication requirements among other factors.  But it is important to remember that noformulation is perfect, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.  Historically, peat, known as

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STAGE 6: The Methods

Microbial inoculants are typically applied to row crops at planting either by seed treatment or in-furrow delivery.  Seed treatment is most widely used on a commercial scale because it is suited to management practices and requires less material than in-furrow delivery.  Foliar application to coincide with certain plant development stages is also increasing in practice.  Addition of the microbial inoculant to the seeds can occur either as an overtreatment or at the same time as pesticide seed treatment.  Pre-inoculation of seeds weeks (or months) in

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Biologicals Regulation: The Right Way

We talked to Bruce Caldwell, CEO of 3Bar Bio, and Jane Fife, 3Bar Bio’s CTO, about regulating biologicals and what we should be considering as this topic gets more attention. Bruce, with many years in R&D and product development, tends to focus first on the more business-oriented, commercialization issues. Jane, with a PhD in agricultural engineering, naturally comes from a more technical point of view. Together, they lead 3Bar to ensure that the company is an effective design, development, and delivery partner for both biological discovery companies

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STAGE 5: The Delivery

Plant growth-promoting inoculants typically have the greatest effect when applied early in plant development.  When applied with the seed, there is a period of time before the seed germinates that the inoculant must be able to survive before root exudates become available.  Microbial inoculants have the best chance to survive and compete in the soil environment if they are applied at high concentrations, in a highly viable form, close to the plant roots or seed at planting.    Keeping living microorganisms highly viable in a commercial

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STAGE 4: The Environment

Most microbial products commercially available in the United States have been developed for a mass market, and no microbial inoculant has proved to be effective in all environments.  Through research, the survival and persistence of microbes in the soil, has been shown to be affected by extreme soil pH, desiccation, nutrient deficiencies, salinity/alkalinity, extreme temperatures, and toxicities.  In general, microbial inoculant survival and concentration are favored by neutral pH, adequate moisture, adequate organic carbon, and low salinity. Resource availability and the extent of native species

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