Coffee plants grow better without chemicals; healthy soil has microbes and fungi that nourish plants and act as biofertilizers
06/12/2018 // Edsel Cook // Views

A recent Mexican study suggested that coffee plants and other crops can flourish even without chemical fertilizers. All they need is healthy soil with the right combination of native fungi that act as biofertilizers, increasing the amount of phosphorus in the soil and the plant's rate of absorption.

The researchers identified two particular groups of fungi that are commonly found in the soil and show promise as natural fertilizers for crop growth.

The first group are called arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM), symbiotic fungi from the phylum Glomeromycota. Their spores start in the soil but eventually become part of the roots of many vascular plants, where they absorb nutrients from the soil and give it to their hosts in exchange for carbon.

The second group are the phosphate-solubilizing fungi (P-solubilizing fungi), soil-borne molds that increase the solubility of phosphorus in the soil. They accomplish this through the production of enzymes that liberate the nutrient from organic phosphates.

Phosphorus is an important bionutrient that plays a large role in plant growth and development. While it is found in the soil, plants usually encounter difficulty in absorbing it, necessitating the use of chemical fertilizers.

Given the characteristics of the two fungal groups, it stood to reason that a combination of AM and P-solubilizing fungi would provide larger amounts of phosphorus to local plants. The increased nourishment would result in improved growth and development.

To this end, the researchers performed an experiment where they evaluated the effects of the two fungi groups acting on their own and in concert. They chose coffee plants (Coffea arabica L.) as their test subject since the roots of the plant hosts AM populations.


Researchers tried out several different combinations of fungi

In the study, coffee plants were cultivated in a controlled environment before being divided into several groups. One group was set aside to serve as the control for the experiment, while the others received a randomly-assigned inoculation of at least one type of fungal strain.

  • Arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM)
  • Aspergillus niger
  • Penicillium brevicompactum
  • A. niger + P. brevicompactum
  • AM + A. niger
  • AM + P. brevicompactum
  • AM + A. niger + P. brevicompactum

Both the AM and P-solubilizing fungi are naturally found in the soil. They also belong to some of the most prevalent genus of fungi around the world.

During the eight months of the trial period, researchers paid particular heed to three parameters: The levels of phosphorus in the soil, acid phosphatase activity in the rhizosphere, the growth and development of coffee plants in each group. (Related: Phosphorus from fertilizer runoff is polluting freshwater sources all over the world.)

Tag team of AM and P-solubilizing fungi boost phosphorus levels, plant growth

According to the study, the A. niger + P. brevicompactum treatment group demonstrated the highest concentration of phosphorus. It also showed the highest level of acid phosphatase activity in the rhizosphere.

Acid phosphatase action also increased in the roots of coffee plants that received A. niger, AM + A. niger, and AM + A. niger + P. brevicompactum treatments.

Researchers also measured the levels of phosphorus found in the plant's foliage. The foliar phosphorus concentrations were significantly higher for arbuscular mycorrhiza, AM + A. niger, AM + A. niger + P. brevicompactum, AM + P. brevicompactum, and A. niger + P. brevicompactum treatments.

The coffee plants in the groups that received both arbuscular mycorrhiza and at least one of the P-solubilizing fungi showed improved growth and development.

The researchers recommended additional research on other native fungal strains that could serve as organic fertilizers. These new candidates could prove more effective than the AM and P-solubilizing fungi depending on the environmental conditions present in their home region.

Sources include:

Take Action:
Support Natural News by linking to this article from your website.
Permalink to this article:
Embed article link:
Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use is permitted with credit to (including a clickable link).
Please contact us for more information.
Free Email Alerts
Get independent news alerts on natural cures, food lab tests, cannabis medicine, science, robotics, drones, privacy and more.
App Store
Android App
eTrust Pro Certified

This site is part of the Natural News Network © 2022 All Rights Reserved. Privacy | Terms All content posted on this site is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. Truth Publishing International, LTD. is not responsible for content written by contributing authors. The information on this site is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for professional advice of any kind. Truth Publishing assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material. Your use of this website indicates your agreement to these terms and those published here. All trademarks, registered trademarks and servicemarks mentioned on this site are the property of their respective owners.

This site uses cookies
Natural News uses cookies to improve your experience on our site. By using this site, you agree to our privacy policy.
Learn More
Get 100% real, uncensored news delivered straight to your inbox
You can unsubscribe at any time. Your email privacy is completely protected.