Recent studies show that live or latent cells of efficient strains of microorganisms enhance growth and yield of crops, and help remediate soil fertility problems. These microorganisms are prepared as microbial inoculants or biofertilizers.
MykoPlus is a multi-strain and multi-species biofertilizer. In addition to mycorrhizal fungi, MykoPlus also contains beneficial bacteria that include nitrogen fixers, phosphorous solubilizers, growth hormone secretors, and others.
MykoPlus was developed by Dr. Jocelyn T. Zarate and her team from the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.
In a two-season farmer’s field trial in Isabela and Cagayan, results showed that coating corn seeds with the powdered MykoPlus inoculant prior to sowing enhanced the crop’s ability to assimilate nutrients.
A 30% savings on the use of recommended chemical fertilizer was also realized. Yield was higher or comparable to crops receiving 100% recommended rate of chemical fertilizer alone.
Soil analysis after the cropping season showed that soil pH was not as low as that of without using MykoPlus. Higher residual nitrogen and phosphorus in the soil was also noted.
In Manaoag, Pangasinan, farmers using MykoPlus observed that their crops had enhanced rooting, taller shoots, greater yield, and better survival from the prolonged flooding brought about by typhoons.
MykoPlus was also found good for rice, sorghum, cassava and vegetables. In rice, more filled grains were observed leading to heavier grain yield.
The synergistic interaction of the mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria in MykoPlus brings about these good results.
However, the most important effect of applying MykoPlus is that it creates a diverse population of beneficial microbes. The continuous application of beneficial microbes such as those in MykoPlus brings back life to soils damaged by repeated and heavy application of chemical inputs.
Currently, the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) is funding the “MykoPlus technology promotion and demonstration trials for yellow corn and eggplant,” a component project of the program, ”Development and promotion of new and enhanced biofertilizers, biostimulants, and biopesticides for increased crop productivity.”
MykoPlus is one of the many R&D undertakings supported by DOST-PCAARRD in response to its commitment to Outcome One. Outcome One is DOST’S commitment to raise the productivity of the agriculture sector to world-class standards through the use of science-based know-how and tools. DOST-PCAARRD leads this commitment.
by Butch S. Pagcaliwagan, DOST-PCAARRD S&T Media Service