Natural acidifier application with effects on soil microbial activity in Swiss chard, Tuscany black cabbage and Tetragonia tetragonioides cultivation

Domenico Prisa

Researcher, CREA Council for Agricultural Research and Economics

DOI: https://doi.org/10.36713/epra10401

Abstract

Research goal: This research aimed to evaluate the effects of a natural product with acidifying activity on seed germination and growth of Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris subsp. vulgaris), Tuscany black cabbage (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) and Tetragonia tetragonioides plants and whether there were any interactions or interferences with soil microbial activity and fertility parameters. Materials and Methods: The experiments, which started in January 2022, were conducted in the greenhouses of CREA-OF in Pescia (Pt), Tuscany, Italy (43°54′N 10°41′E). The experimental groups were: 1) group control in peat, irrigated with water and substrate previously fertilized; 2) group control in compost, irrigated with water and substrate previously fertilized; 3) group with organic acidifiers (organic acidifying product by Fertalis SRL) in peat irrigated with water and substrate previously fertilized; 4) group with organic acidifiers in compost irrigated with water and substrate previously fertilized. Results and Discussion: The trial significantly improved the agronomic parameters analyzed on Swiss chard, Tuscany black cabbage and Tetragonia tetragonioides plants treated with an organic acidifier. In particular, there was an increase in plant height, vegetative and roots weight, seeds germination and average germination time. In addition, the experiment showed that in plants treated with the organic acidifier, there was a lowering of the pH and a significant increase in substrate microfauna. Conclusions: According to the results obtained in this above-ground experiment, applying a natural acidifier in peat- or compost-based substrate can be beneficial for increasing plant productivity and quality and positively influence the microbiology of the soil. In the experiment, a reduction in the pH of the substrate was found in the theses treated with the acidifier. At the same time, a significant increase in the agronomic quality of the plants (in terms of productivity and growth) was observed. Furthermore, in these theses, it was evident how the microbial presence increased, which positively affected the substrate structure and fertilizer uptake.

Keywords: sustainable agriculture, beneficial microorganisms, plant interactions, succulent plants, substrate microbiology, organic acidifier, alkaline soil

EPRA International Journal of Agriculture and Rural Economic Research (ARER), Volume: 10, Issue: 5, 25-33

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