United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
Pacific West Area
Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory
3420 NW Orchard Avenue
Corvallis, Oregon 97330
May 23, 1996
To Whom It May Concern:
Agriculture in both developed and developing countries throughout the world is at a crossroads in terms of its future stability and sustainability. On the one hand, modern agriculture depends heavily on inputs of fertilizers and pesticides to maintain an economic level of productivity. On the other hand are social and economic pressures demanding that agricultural practices, that have a damaging impact on the environment and pose risk to the health of mankind, be curtailed. The solution lies in agricultural sciences developing new technology to offset reduced fertilizer and pesticide use while maintaining a sustainable level of productivity. In my opinion, that solution can be found in developing a technology based on one of the most fundamental aspects of soil science, i.e. the management of the microbes that live in the rhizosphere soil around the roots of nearly all terrestrial plants. In the process of growth, plants produce carbon compounds by means of photosynthesis, and part of that carbon is partitioned to the roots where some of it leaks into the soil. The root exudates support the enhanced growth of soil microbes, and some of those microorganisms, through their growth and metabolism, profoundly affect the growth and health of the roots and therefore the whole plant.
I believe that the main orchestrators of microbial activity in the rhizosphere are Mycorrhizal fungi. It follows; therefore, that successful management of the rhizosphere microflora depends on management of Mycorrhizae, the symbiotic relationship that forms with special soil fungi and most plant roots. This belief is based on the fact that Mycorrhizal fungi are known, from fossil records and recent molecular genetic evidence, to have been present at or before the time when plants first colonized land. These fungi and other associated soil microflora and microfauna have co-evolved with plants to the present state. In natural, undisturbed ecosystems, the Mycorrhizal state and a complex of associated microbes are the basis for growth and survival of plants. The recent agricultural practices wherein luxury rates of fertilizers and pesticides are used, including soil fumigants that destroy much of the microflora and fauna, have damaged the microbial balance and the potential for microbial support of plant growth and health. The challenge is to restore the beneficial microflora that can biologically provide the needed support, and to provide such microbes to farmers worldwide.
Relatively few commercial enterprises have embraced this concept and are positioned to provide the Mycorrhizal fungi and associated microflora needed to shift our farm practices to a biologically based technology. B. Probiotics, inventor and manufacturer of BioVam has done so. He produces VA Mycorrhizal fungi that are appropriate symbionts of most agricultural crops in products for farmers that are easy to use at the beginning of the crop cycle. Their products also contain other compatible microbes that have the capacity to complement the effects of Mycorrhizae and further enhance plant growth and health, especially under various stressful planting situations. The mixture of microbes and other materials in his BIO-VAM product are tailored to the planting site and situation, and provide the biological boost needed to get crops off to a good start. The benefits induced by inoculation with BIO-VAM are increased growth and health under reduced fertility conditions, increased tolerance of plants to soil drought and salinity, improved transplant ability of perennial crops, and improved fertilizer-use efficiency.
I am delighted that B. Probiotics has adopted a biological technology that I have advocated for years. They have positioned themselves at the forefront of future agricultural practice worldwide, and I commend them for it. They are clearly showing the way by providing products and technology to farmers that are needed for agriculture to be sustainable in the future.
Robert G. Linderman, PhD
Supervisory Research Plant Pathologist
and Research Leader
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