“…the solubilization of microorganisms can contribute to reducing the demand for fertilizers by more than 30%…”
Armenia Velázquez Gurrola is a partner and founder of Abiosa, a Mexican bio-input company.
Gurrola is a biologist, MSc in environmental toxicology from the Center for Research in Food and Development in Culicacán, and former director of research at InnovakGlobal.
AgriBrasilis – What is the importance of soil microbial diversity?
Armenia Velázquez – Microbiological diversity is one of the most important parameters of soil health.
It was found that the greater the diversity, the healthier and more productive the soil becomes. Furthermore, the greater the microbial diversity, the faster soils recover from different types of biotic (e.g., pests and diseases) and abiotic (e.g., high or low temperatures) stress.
Agribrasilis – Why are Mexican soils degraded?
Armenia Velázquez – Soil degradation in Mexico has different causes, some natural and others derived from human activity. Change in land use, loss of fertility and erosion because of climatic conditions and inappropriate use are the most frequent causes.
AgriBrasilis – Of every 10 soils analyzed in Mexico, 9 have deficiencies related to microorganisms. How is it possible to solve this problem?
Armenia Velázquez – I believe that the first step is to raise awareness about this. We must know the quality of Mexican soils, from the biological point of view. Second, we must implement strategies based on soil requirements.
AgriBrasilis – What is the advantage of using solubilizers?
Armenia Velázquez – It is estimated that the solubilization of microorganisms can contribute to reducing the demand for fertilizers by more than 30%. Solubilizers also stimulate vegetative development and compete for space and food with other pathogenic organisms, favoring the nutrition and health of crops.
AgriBrasilis – Do soil analyzes allow savings in the use of these products?
Armenia Velázquez – Yes, because by knowing the microbial deficiencies of the different types of soil we can focus on inoculating only those groups of microorganisms whose populations are low, optimizing costs and focusing on results.
Depending on the type of analysis performed (microbiological, enzymatic, metagenomic), density, biological activity, distribution and diversity, among other factors of soil life, can be determined.
AgriBrasilis – What is the demand for these solutions?
Armenia Velázquez – Demand is currently low in Mexico. This is mainly because of a lack of knowledge. People in agribusiness have focused for many years on detecting pathogens with the mindset of reducing their populations.
We need to go through a paradigm shift, to implement strategies that favor the development of beneficial microorganisms in the soil.
I believe that we are in the initial phase of a learning curve about this and in the coming decades I foresee a significant growth in the analysis of the microbiome of our agricultural systems, not only of the soil, but of plant tissues (stems, leaves, fruits) and composts.
Microorganisms seem to be key to fundamental processes that can ensure not only the health of the soil or our crops, but also our own health, as more than 90% of our food comes from the soil.
Healthy soil produces healthy food, and by eating it, we can be healthier too.