This research, framed within UALtransfierE, a program of the UAL together with pioneering companies in the area, aims to promote knowledge transfer in the social and economic environment in R+D+i projects.
A study conducted by the University of Almeria (UAL) and Nostoc Biotech, a company specialized in natural fertilizers and biological control based on earthworm humus, indicates that the use of this organic fertilizer produces an increase in productivity and quality in bell pepper crops.
This research is part of UALtransfierE, a program led by the UAL together with pioneering companies in the area, which aims to promote the transfer of knowledge in the social and economic environment in joint R+D+i projects. In this project, doctors Raúl Ortega, Fernando Diánez and Isabel Miralles, from the Agronomy Department of the UAL, have studied the fertilizing and biotechnological potential of the bacteria and fungi present in the earthworm humus. “The experiments carried out have allowed us to verify how this organic contribution has had positive effects on a bell pepper crop, observing increases in production parameters such as, for example, the size of the fruits and their quality, thanks to the increase in the natural sugars present in them,” the researchers explain.
The study demonstrates the high potential of microorganisms derived from earthworm humus as a natural fertilizer and reveals the direct relationship between the fungi and bacteria that colonize the rhizosphere of the crop,” said Francisco Martín, technical director of Nostoc Biotech. In addition to such important parameters as pest and disease incidence, root development, yield and fruit quality.”
Earthworm humus increases the number of internodes of plants by 5%
In this regard, the research focuses on how natural fertilizers with microorganisms derived from earthworm humus determine the productive capacity of plants, in this case, peppers.
“We analyzed the growth of the crops and found significant improvements, especially in the parameters of number and length of internodes, areas where the leaves are born. The crops treated with earthworm humus have increased the number of internodes by up to 5%, which facilitates the formation of more fruit,” says Dr. Ortega.
In addition, Dr. Diánez adds that the distances between nodes are shorter, which is positive, since, in this way, we can have more compact plants that could allow more productive floors for the same plant height”.
Microorganisms in earthworm humus the key to fighting pests and diseases
During the study, the researchers observed that the microorganisms present in earthworm humus settled satisfactorily in the crops. According to the experts, this finding is of great scientific value, since “it provides a new source of information on the role that this type of organic fertilizer can play in combating pathogens in plants and improving their quality,” adds Dr. Ortega.
Thus, in view of these good results, the University of Almeria and Nostoc Biotech have decided to continue the research with another project, ‘Biofertilizers as an important tool to increase crop quality and reduce the consumption of traditional fertilizers in intensive agriculture’, focused on demonstrating how worm humus can significantly reduce the use of chemicals in agriculture.
The agricultural sector in Almeria continues to lead organic agriculture in Europe. In fact, in this Andalusian province are found fruits and vegetables with less chemical residues throughout the continent.