MSOB: The Role of Biostimulants in IPM Systems

Brian German Industry, Making Sense of Biologicals

Biostimulants - making sense of biologicals

Biostimulants have an interesting role in overall integrated pest management (IPM) systems. While the materials are designed to improve things like yield and overall crop health, they can also provide secondary benefits. UC Cooperative Extension Entomology and Biologicals Advisor Dr. Surendra Dara explained that many biostimulants have an indirect impact on pest management. They can often interact with plant systems and help strengthen resistance to pest attack.

“The first thing is they induce systemic resistance. They also build soil structure because some biostimulants are food for beneficial microbes and some biostimulants actually have microorganisms as well as food for them. When we add certain biostimulants that are more like an organic matter, they can promote soil microbial activity either that is already there or those that are added separately,” Dara noted. “There are different ways that biostimulants work on plants and contribute to their improved health and growth as well as suppression of pests.”

Dara recently looked into nine different categories of plant biostimulants that have an indirect impact on arthropod pests, plant pathogens, and plant-parasitic nematodes. Materials such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, protein hydrolysates, humic substances, algal and botanical extracts each have a role in IPM approaches.

“Each of them work in a different way. They could be triggering the immune responses or improving the health indirectly, or promoting the biological processes, and so on,” said Dara. “If you look at biostimulants they are part of cultural control options because they are cultural practices that are becoming a small part of the big IPM picture.”

Listen to the full episode with Surendra Dara below.

‘Making Sense of Biologicals’ is a series from AgNet West that dives into various topics with unbiased experts in the field of biologics to help the industry better understand the product category.

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