Bacillus amyloliquefaciens

In recent years, growers have been ditching agrochemicals in favor of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria such as Bacillus amyloliquefaciens (BAA). These beneficial bacteria provide many of the same benefits as synthesized agrochemicals. However, they do much less harm to the environment.

These soil-dwelling bacteria are often naturally found in soils. However, plants can still benefit from growing-applied inoculants. After inoculating the soil, you’ll likely see a number of plant benefits. 

These benefits fall into two main categories: increased plant growth and protection from soil-borne pathogens.

If you’re interested in applying this beneficial bacterium to your crops, check out the Green House Feeding Bio Enhancer product. This product contains this B. amyloliquefaciens as well as other biostimulants. These include humic acid, seaweed extract, and Trichoderma harzianum.

If you’re still unsure about whether you want to add B. amyloliquefaciens to your growing routine, continue reading. By the end of this article, you’ll have enough information to make an informed decision.

Concerns About Traditional Pesticides and Fertilizers

Before learning more about this bacteria, it’s worth examining why it’s replacing other products.

Traditional agrochemical pesticides and fertilizers present a number of environmental concerns. For example, pesticides often impact species other than their target. Remember DDT?

When pesticides are applied to plants, they often leach into soil and waterways. At this point, they negatively impact other species. Some impacts include disruption of fish thyroid systems, pollinator decline, and development of pesticide-resistant species. 

Traditional agrochemical pesticides also kill off beneficial soil bacteria and fungi. Without these fungi, plants have a harder time taking up nutrients. And we know a lack of nutrients can limit plant growth.

When agrochemical fertilizers are applied to plants, they often leach into soil and waterways. As nutrients build up in local watersheds, they can cause excessive aquatic plant growth. This eventually leads to oxygen-deprived dead zones. 

Fortunately, there are better options than these agrochemicals. Biological products work with biology, instead of against it. Therefore, they increase plant growth without harming the environment.

What is Bacillus amyloliquefaciens?

First off, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens is a species of bacteria. Its genus, Bacillus, also contains the biopesticide Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and the causal agent of anthrax Bacillus anthracis.

All members of the Bacillus genus are gram-positive rods. In other words, these bacteria have thick cell walls that lead to a positive result in the Gram stain test. They are also oval in shape.

B. amyloliquefaciens is aerobic. Therefore, it lives in environments where oxygen is present.

Like most Bacillus species, it can produce endospores. These tough, asexual structures help the bacteria survive adverse environmental conditions. Due to endospore production, B. amyloliquefaciens can survive for a long period of time. It can live through waterlogged soils and drops in temperature.

There are many different strains of B. amyloliquefaciens. Some strains commonly used in plant production include D747, FZB42, and FZB24. Each of these strains are similar, but they do exhibit differences. 

Various strains are better suited to specific growing conditions and host plants. Therefore, you may find that some strains perform better than others in your specific growing environment.

A Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria

This specific bacterium belongs to a group known as plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR). These bacteria are naturally found in soils, yet plants often benefit from grower-applied inoculants. There are many different species of PGPR. There are also different strains within each species.

In the past few years, the use of PGPR has been rapidly increasing. However, these bacteria have been used by growers for a long time. In fact, the first “bacteriological fertilizer” was sold in 1897 under the name Alinit. It contained the PGPR Bacillus subtilis.

Since then, we’ve increased our understanding of how these bacteria benefit plants. Most PGPR serve plants in at least one of two ways. 

The first way is by increasing plant growth. Just as with other biostimulants, these bacteria do not directly provide nutrients to plants. Rather, they increase growth though means such as enzyme production and hormone stimulation. 

The second way is by protecting against pathogens. PGPR stimulate plant defense responses. This means that plants can better defend themselves against pathogen attackers. PGPR also release compounds that attack pathogenic bacteria and fungi. This two-prong method helps keep plants from becoming infected with pathogens.

A Natural Fungicide

When soils are inoculated with B. amyloliquefaciens, the bacteria protect plants against various plant pathogens. The pathogens include Botrytis, Fusarium, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia. In case you don’t already know, these diseases can quickly wipe out a crop. 

bacillus amyloliquefaciens
Rotting roots │ Photo credit: Scot Nelson

You may already be familiar with some of these fungal pathogens. In case you’re not, here’s a quick guide to help you recognize them on your plants.

Botrytis

Damage caused by this genus of fungi is often called gray mold, bud rot, crown rot, and damping off. Symptoms include discolored plant tissue. In time, this tissue turns into a fuzzy, gray mold. This fungus can also cause damping off in seedlings.

Fusarium

The most common species of this genus of fungal pathogens is Fusarium oxysporum. This fungus is also known as fusarium wilt. It is frequently found in soil, and it can quickly kill crops. 

Symptoms of fusarium wilt include, you guessed it, wilt. Plants look like they lack water, with wilting, yellow leaves. Eventually, plants die. 

This fungus often enters through the roots. If nematodes attack roots, they are even more susceptible to fungi.

Pythium

This fungal pathogen is referred to as root rot. It first enters plants through root tips before spreading to other areas of the plant. It can quickly destroy root systems, which in turn kills the whole plant.

Symptoms of pythium include stunted plants and damping off of seedlings. Upon examination, roots appear waterlogged or rotten.

Rhizoctonia

This soil-borne fungus produces symptoms including wilting plants and red or brown lesions. It often enters plants through the roots.

Clearly, these fungal pathogens can wreak damage to crops. Fortunately, B. amyloliquefaciens fights these threats using a variety of means. 

How Bacillus amyloliquefaciens Fights Root Rot

When this beneficial bacterium is added to soil or hydroponic solution, it begins growing on plant roots. It creates a symbiotic, or mutually beneficial, relationship with plants. 

The bacteria feed on plant root exudates. In return, the bacteria protect the plant. It’s a win-win.

If the bacteria sense soil-borne pathogens, they release secondary metabolites that act as antibiotics. These include peptides, fengycins, polyketides, and iturins. It’s not important that you remember these names. What is important is that you know B. amyloliquefaciens can help fight off potentially fatal infections.

Think of B. amyloliquefaciens as a nurse that provides a pill. The bacteria itself doesn’t fight the pathogens. Rather, it releases the compounds that do. 

Another way this good bacterium acts as a fungicide is by ramping up plant defenses. This phenomenon is called induced systemic resistance or ISR.

When the good bacteria sense pathogens, they release compounds that signal danger to the plant. The plant then increases its defenses, so it can better resist attack.

One way ISR helps plants fight off invaders is by producing pathogen fighting enzymes. These include chitinases and glucanases. Bacteria also signal plants to release pathogen fighting compounds known as phytoalexins.

In simple terms, the bacteria boost the plants’ immune systems. In turn, plants are better able to resist pathogen attacks.

Increased Plant Growth

Along with protecting plants against fungal pathogens, this bacteria increases plant growth. It’s important to note that this organism is a biostimulant. Therefore, it does not directly provide nutrients nor fight pests. Rather, it increases plant growth and pest resistance indirectly. Who doesn’t like that!?

One way that it improves plant growth is through increasing nutrient availability and uptake. 

Phosphorus an essential plant nutrient. It’s a major component of proteins and is crucial to cell division and energy transfer. However, this nutrient is notorious for being unavailable to plants. 

Growers often add phosphorus to soil. Yet between 70-90% of this phosphorus ends up in forms that are unavailable to plants. That’s a lot of wasted product and money. Furthermore, this excess phosphorus can leach into groundwater and cause major environmental harm. 

However, organisms such as Bacillus amyloliquefaciens can convert this phosphorus into soluble forms. Once phosphorus is in a soluble form, plants can take up and use this nutrient. This means less phosphorus leaches into the environment. It also means that growers can save money by applying less phosphorus to their crops.

This beneficial bacteria also increases the solubilization of other nutrients. This allows plants to better absorb these vital nutrients.

B. amyloiquefaciens also produces many useful enzymes. These include enzymes that help break down larger molecules. Plants then take up the resulting smaller molecules. 

Another way that this bacteria increases plant growth is through the production of plant hormones and growth stimulants. These substances include ethylene, auxin, cytokinin, and gibberellins.

Average Yield per Plant Outdoor and Average Yield per Plant Indoor

As you’ve read above, B. amyloliquefaciens provides a variety of benefits to plants. In turn, it  improves average yields in both indoor and outdoor growing conditions.

This increase in yield is due to a variety of factors. First off, plants are better able to take up essential nutrients such as phosphorus. Second, plants can better fight off pathogens that decrease growth and yields. Third, this beneficial bacteria prompts the production of plant growth-promoting compounds. 

If you’re looking to increase your yields indoors or outdoors, try adding B. amyloliquefaciens to your growing routine.

Why Use Bio Enhancer?

The Bio Enhancer product is a member of the Green House Feeding line. It’s a powerful mix of a variety of biostimulants. These include humic acid, Trichoderma hazarium, kelp extract, and Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. Bio Enhancer also includes nitrogen and potassium.

1kg-BioEnhancer_front_T

The biostimulants in Bio Enhancer are the source of this product’s name. These substances work to enhance plant growth, disease resistance, and yield.

Bio Enhancer is available in 500 gram, 1 kilogram, 2.5 kilogram, and 25 kilogram packages. Since this product is in powder form, you are only paying for the active products. To determine how much money you can save by switching to Green House Feeding products, check out this calculator.

If you’re interested in trying this product, get in touch with Global Garden Staff. 

Global Garden is the exclusive US distributor of all Green House Feeding products. So, make sure to order them here.

Bio Enhancer Application Methods

Growers can apply this product in a variety of ways. Therefore, it is easy to incorporate into your growing routine.

For general plant health, mix with 2-4 grams of Bio Enhancer with per gallon of water. Apply this mixture to growing media every two weeks. This will increase soil structure, increase plant growth, and improve disease resistance. 

Bio Enhancer can also improve the rooting of plant cuttings. To use for this purpose, mix 1-3 grams of product per gallon of water. Dip cuttings in the solution for increased rooting success.

To improve seed germination, mix 2-3 grams of Bio Enhancer per gallon of water. Place seeds in the solution for 8-12 hours. After this period, remove seeds and place in growing media.

The final application method of Bio Enhancer is a foliar spray. Make a solution by mixing 3-5 grams of product per gallon of water. Using a sprayer, apply this solution to above-ground plant tissue every two weeks. This will increase plant growth and improve resistance to disease.

A Bacteria Worth Adding

In summary, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens is a bacteria worth adding to your growing operation. It benefits plants in ways that lead to increased growth and yield.

One major benefit is increased phosphorus solubilization and uptake. Others include stronger resistance to common pathogens and increased growth due to the production of growth-promoting compounds.

If you’ve decided you want to apply this beneficial bacteria to your plants, we can help. Bio Enhancer from Green House Feeding is a great source of B. amyloliquefaciens. This product also provides a dose of other beneficial biostimulants. Since growers can apply it a variety of ways, it is easy to add to your growing routine. 

If you have any questions about Bacillus amyloliquefaciens or Bio Enhancer, contact Global Garden Company staff. We’ll be happy to help.

References

The DDT Story

Fusarium Wilt

Phosphate Solubilizing Microorganisms: Promising Approach as Biofertilizers

Pythium Root Rot

Use of Plant-Associated Bacillus Strains as Biofertilizers and Biocontrol Agents in Agriculture

The Value of Bacillus amolyiquefaciens for Crop Production

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