High-performance prebiotics

Nutrigeo L® and K1® at the heart of a scientific publication

Written by Mark Shaw from Gaiago

Nutrigeo L® and K1®, two soil biostimulants marketed by the company Gaïago, have shown, under controlled conditions, an agronomic interest for growing corn in loamy soil. The results of these trials are detailed in an article published on October 24, 2023 in the international scientific journal Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition[1].

The BIOMES (Biomechanisms for Soil Life and Plant Nutrition) joint research and innovation chair between GAIAGO and UniLaSalle – which aims to deepen understanding of the interaction mechanisms of microorganisms, soils and plants – has published the first scientific article showing the effects of two soil biostimulants, Nutrigeo L® and K1®.

The article, entitled “Prebiotics: A Solution for Improving Plant Growth, Soil Health, and Carbon Sequestration?” and written by Dr. Abdel-Rahman ALAHMAD, was published on October 24, 2023.

An observation protocol for short- and medium-term effects on soil and plants

The two soil biostimulants, K1® and NUTRIGEO L®, were evaluated for their effects on loamy soil under controlled conditions on corn crops, in comparison with untreated soil. Analyses were carried out at two harvest dates: three weeks and ten weeks after product application and straw burial. Root growth and development of above-ground maize parts were monitored in this study. The variables studied in the soil samples included bacterial and fungal populations, as well as enzymatic activities in the carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus cycles, changes in organic matter and mycorrhization of plant roots.

NUTRIGEO, a partner for fungi and soil organic carbon

Nutrigeo L® confirmed its positive effect on corn growth. In this modality, root weight increased by 30% and above-ground weight by 20%. In particular, Nutrigeo L® increased the abundance of “beneficial” soil microorganisms, including saprophytic and mycorrhizal fungi, which act to decompose organic matter and absorb nutrients.

In the NUTRIGEO L® modality, there was an observed increase in CEC, glomalin content and the quantity of carbon associated with fine soil particles at ten weeks (by 8.4% for organic carbon and 8.9% for total carbon). This experiment confirms the action of the NUTRIGEO L® prebiotic in initiating dynamics favorable to soil carbon storage at ten weeks.

K1, the universal decomposer of organic matter

For its part, K1® has also increased the abundance of fungi and bacteria considered beneficial, with action focused on the decomposition of organic molecules of varying complexity, illustrated by a greater metabolic diversity of the soil bacterial community and a higher level of enzymatic activity. This decomposition is coupled with an increase in electrical conductivity, CEC and certain nutrients such as assimilable phosphorus.

As with the NUTRIGEO L® modality, the K1® modality produced greater growth in the crops tested.

Continuation of the BIOMES Research and Innovation Chair’s work on soil fertility

This pioneering work is one of the first to establish the positive short- and medium-term effects of prebiotics on soil fertility, microbial communities, plant development and the initiation of dynamics and processes conducive to carbon storage.

The BIOMES Chair continues to deepen knowledge on these topics, with future publications in the pipeline.

A mode of action defined under controlled conditions with benefits already observed in the field

GEP – Good Experimental Practices – trials have also been carried out by independent technical centers in the field. These studies were carried out in different French and European regions, under different soil and climate conditions, and on different crops, in order to come up with recommendations for use and obtain approval as a soil conditioner with biostimulant effects on soil and plant.

At the same time, in 2020, Gaïago, in partnership with over 80 French retailers, launched an operation called “La Terre Par Dessus Tout” (The Soil Above All). A total of 1,681 farms across France participated, representing 2003 plots and some 20,000 hectares of farmland. Different soil and climate conditions were incorporated into the demonstration. Observations, based on easy-to-implement, reliable and duplicable indicators of soil structure and organic matter decomposition, validated the effectiveness of NUTRIGEO L® in agricultural distribution, with visual benefits in almost 9 out of 10 cases.

The results obtained by the scientists of the BIOMES research chair have confirmed and illustrated the mode of action of NUTRIGEO L® under controlled conditions, and complemented the results already observed in plots through the national soil fertility operation.

In addition, this prebiotic is the main lever of the Gaïago Carbon program, which enables farmers to accelerate the revitalization of their soils thanks to the income generated by carbon credits. More than 26,000 hectares of 650 farmers in Europe are involved in this program.

Read the article here

[1] Journal with an impact factor of 3.9; ranked in the top quartile of scientific journals in terms of influence in its category.