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What are biostimulants for agriculture?
We use the definition that was proposed on Scientia Horticulturae - Volume 196, 30 November 2015, Pages 3-14 - by Patrickdu Jardin
"A plant biostimulant is any substance or microorganism applied to plants with the aim to enhance nutrition efficiency, abiotic stress tolerance and/or crop quality traits, regardless of its nutrients content."
"By extension, plant biostimulants also designate commercial products containing mixtures of such substances and/or microorganisms. The definition proposed by this article is supported by arguments related to the scientific knowledge about the nature, modes of action and types of effects of biostimulants on crop and horticultural plants.
Furthermore, the proposed definition aims at contributing to the acceptance of biostimulants by future regulations, especially in the EU, drawing the lines between biostimulants and fertilisers, pesticides or biocontrol agents.
Many biostimulants improve nutrition and they do so regardless of their nutrients contents. Biofertilisers, which we propose as a subcategory of biostimulants, increase nutrient use efficiency and open new routes of nutrients acquisition by plants. In this sense, microbial biostimulants include mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal fungi, bacterial endosymbionts (like Rhizobium) and Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria. Thus, microorganisms applied to plants can have a dual function of biocontrol agent and of biostimulant, and the claimed agricultural effect will be instrumental in their regulatory categorization. The present review gives an overview of the definition and concept of plant biostimulants, as well as the main categories. This paper will also briefly describe the legal and regulatory status of biostimulants, with a focus on the EU and the US, and outlines the drivers, opportunities and challenges of their market development."
You can find the complete article by Patrick du Jardin here