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Development of a novel microbial biofertilizer with activity against effects of water stress for corn crops (Zea mays)

Grant number: 20/00765-0
Support Opportunities:Research Grants - Innovative Research in Small Business - PIPE
Duration: February 01, 2021 - September 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Microbiology - Applied Microbiology
Principal Investigator:Diego Bonaldo Genuário
Grantee:Diego Bonaldo Genuário
Host Company:Biodiversita Serviços de Apoio Agrícola Ltda. - ME
CNAE: Atividades de apoio à agricultura
Fabricação de adubos e fertilizantes
City: Jaguariúna
Pesquisadores principais:
Suikinai Nobre Santos
Associated scholarship(s):21/00161-0 - Production of biofertilizer to mitigate the effects of water stress on corn plants (Zea mays), BP.PIPE


The effects of global warming and climate change directly affect agriculture-related activities. The increased concentration of CO2 promotes the high supply of this gas to plants, stimulating their growth, and the increase in temperature directly stimulates their physiological and metabolic activities. In addition, the changes caused by the increase in temperature cause changes in the rainfall regime and regularity, which are essential for the establishment, development and production of agricultural crops. Records indicate that, in developing countries, 25% of the damage from natural disasters fell on agriculture, causing losses of US $ 70 billion between the years 2003 and 2013. It is estimated that 44% of these losses were caused by drought, and in Brazil, analyzes show an annual loss close to R$ 11 billion (1% of agricultural GDP) due to extreme events. The fact that most of the national agricultural production is located in the tropical zone, reinforces the urgent need for sophistication in the practices and development of new technologies. It is notorious, therefore, that water scarcity prevents the germination of seeds, restricts vegetative growth making plants more susceptible to attack by pests and diseases, and harms the productivity of their crops. Currently, the main alternative available to circumvent water supply and regularity for agricultural crops is artificial irrigation using complex and expensive hydraulic systems, and applying large volumes of water captured from rivers and reservoirs by obtaining licenses that restrict the volume of water withdrawal. Thus, research directed to the search for alternatives for more efficient irrigation systems and for varieties of agricultural plants more tolerant to water stress has been an important area and of constant investigation for the agricultural sector worldwide. The main objective of this proposal is to develop a biofertilizer based on an unprecedented microbial consortium, BTM-MH, a technological innovation to mitigate the deleterious effects of water stress for application in maize (Zea mays) crops. The aim is to evaluate the effectiveness of this new biological tool on the vigor, resilience and productivity of corn plants grown under field conditions and subjected to environmental conditions of water stress, in addition to investigating the improvement of soil structure. With the adoption of this technology, corn plants are expected to be more tolerant to the effects caused by intermittent water shortages and climatic instabilities (summer periods, for example) without decreasing the health of the corn plant and its grain production. Based on the preliminary results, greater efficiency in water consumption was demonstrated by plants inoculated with BTM-MH, greater production of plant biomass and grains by corn plants. When confirming the beneficial effects in field conditions, the bacterial consortium, BTM-MH, can be applied associated with the seeds through their microbiolization and/or during the planting of the seeds. It therefore proposes the development of a technology that can be easily integrated into the operational and logistical systems previously established and applied by agricultural producers, with low operating costs. It is worth remembering that the demand for food is an increasing trend due to population growth, however, the agricultural areas available are increasingly scarce and/or restricted to marginal areas (where the water supply is reduced and in impoverished soils, etc.) where management for the establishment and development of agriculture is challenging. In addition, it is known that, to date, there are no satisfactory solutions to solve or alleviate the problems related to water scarcity in corn crops in Brazil and in the international scenario. (AU)

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