Project: Mycorrhizal technology application via drip irrigation and seed coating for sustainable agriculture

Current management of soils focuses primarily on maximizing agricultural production. However, positive impact of soil microbial life has been rather neglected and its importance in increasing soil fertility is often underestimated. The EC identified soil loss and declining soil fertility as a CO threat to sustainable development, primarily because it diminishes the viability of agricultural production (COM 2001/264). As outlined in the Communication 'Towards a Thematic Strategy for Soil Protection (COM2002 /179) a comprehensive European Community approach to soil protection is still lacking and soil problems have negative consequences on production, water protection and food security. Threats to soil degradation include erosion, decline in organic matter, loss of microbial biodiversity, compaction and salinisation. There are, however biological means and ways how to reduce these risks. _x000D__x000D_Mycorrhizal or arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are natural and integral part of healthy soil ecosystems which contribute to efficient utilisation of soil resources namely nutrients and water. In agricultural and horticultural systems, however these beneficial microorganisms are often present in inferior abundance and it is vital to inoculate them artificially to the soil. The effects of inoculation is COly increase of absorption capacity of crop root systems resulting in more efficient use of nutrients, better protection of crop to soil born diseases and enhanced crop productivity. Mycorrhizal inoculation in general reduces demand for agrochemicals input in particular phosphate fertilizers and fungicides. Currently the CO way of inoculation has been incorporation of solid granular formulations of mycorrhizal inocula into upper soil horizons, preinoculation of plant stock in nursery or inoculation at transplanting stage. This represent usually commercial limitation of this technology in terms of high demands of inocula and restricted use of inocula only at planting stage. Formulation of water soluble products and development of application via drip irrigation represents thus revolutionary innovation which would allow economically and technically more feasible way of mycorrhizal technology. _x000D__x000D_Novel formulations of AMF as efficient bio-agent and its innovated delivery system based on subsurface drip-irrigation system and by coating AMF spores on the seeds will achieve much higher efficiency in utilization and it will open many new market niches. New technologies will allow the production of environment-friendly products for facilitating crop ability to grow and sustain sub-optimal growth conditions, reducing both water consumption and nutrient usage. _x000D__x000D_For the Drip-irrigation based product, we will combine 3 unique AMF species, embedded in encapsulation matrix that will allow fluent flow through the irrigation system. This will allow the application of AMF-based products in the open field and in greenery urban area. In addition, this approach may expand market opportunities for AMF, especially for agricultural crops cultivated under under suboptimal growth conditions. The sub-surface irrigation methodology is known to significantly increase water usage efficiency, and as a result, to reduce water consumption. Moreover, the sub-surface irrigation demonstrated a dramatic reduction in the amount of nutrient needed to supplement plant growth, reducing the threat for nutrient leaking to the below-ground water reserves. _x000D__x000D_In cases in which crops are not irrigated via the irrigation system, seed coating may be a most promising delivery system for AMF application and we will develop Seed-Coat product. As for now, many of the glue used for seed coating may dehydrate the AMF spores, reducing their viability. Throughout this project we will evaluate different adhesion substances, of natural sources, to overcome this pitfall. The use of 3 AMF species in both products will allow expansion of host variety and an enhanced promotion of crop growth and development by the fungi. _x000D__x000D_In this project, we will optimize the composition of both mycorrhizal products and their application mode hence, the research and development will result with the following deliverable items:_x000D_1. Unique and effective specific products specifically tailored and adjusted to target application via drip irrigation and seed coating. _x000D_2. Cost effective production processes for formulation and finalization of the inocula products. _x000D_3. Verification of market scope and economic feasibility of product application. _x000D_4. Marketing tools for bringing the novel products and technologies on the market.

Acronym MycoDripSeed (Reference Number: 5087)
Duration 01/01/2010 - 31/12/2012
Project Topic Research and development in application of mycorrhizal fungi inocula via drip irrigation system and seed coating brings novel technologies which increases sustainability of agriculture and horticulture crop cultivation using ecological means saving water and fertilizer input.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
- A novel mycorrhizal product applicable via subsurface drip irrigation system (commercial name MycoDrip). Registered as supplementary plant substance at Central Institute for Supervising and Testing in Agriculture of the Czech Republic. _x000D_- The seed coating prodct based on combination of starch acting as the coating agent and mycorrhizal propagule in the form of root fragments. Protected as the Czech Utility model no. 25632 (IPO CZ)._x000D_- A novel technology of incorporation of mycorrhizal fungi into a fully soluble film for water/soil application.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 3

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
3 NETAFIM LTD Partner Israel
3 Symbiom spol. s. r.o. Coordinator Czech Republic