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Beneficial microorganisms for optimizing lettuce anda sugarcane seedling production


Beneficial microorganisms, fungi and bacteria, are marketed and used worldwide as inoculants for different agricultural crops. The growing market for inoculants is a result of the need for healthier foods, free from contamination with pesticides, with reduced expenses with chemical fertilization and pesticides, and that meet the requirements of the Market consumer and fall into more sustainable agriculture. Especially in Brazil, the inoculants and biological pesticides has grown significantly in the last few years, being used increasingly in different cultures, both as beneficial micro-organisms, which promote the plant growth, such as those that act as antagonists to phytopathogens, used for the biological control. Even FAPESP has an important role, having financed startups in the area through the PIPE program such as Promip and Bug among others. Regarding that, nitrogen-fixing bacteria based inoculants for legumes is the best example succession of substitution of nitrogen fertilization by diazotrophic bacteria. More recently, Bacillus-based inoculants were introduced to replace, in part, the phosphate fertilizer in the cultivation of sugar cane. Products formulated with Bacillus and Trichoderma have been widespread commercialized, especially for the biological control of pathogens transmitted by the soil, such as nematodes. However, the market for inoculants based on bacteria that promote the groth of plants, especially as formulated with Pseudomonas species, is still underdeveloped, because they are more difficult to study and to formulate. In the initial phase of this project it is intended to select microorganisms that promote the growth of sugarcane seedlings and of lettuce, as well as the mixture of these with other bacteria or fungi, generating products and innovative processes in the inoculants market. The state of São Paulo is the main producer in Brazil of one of the most important cultures in the country, a sugarcane. Lettuce is a main leafy vegetable marketed in Brazil present daily in the population's diet. Recently the system of pre-sprouted seedlings was developed with the objective to improve the quality of sugarcane seedlings and lettuce goes through the production of seedlings in trays with standardized substrate and the beneficial bacteria can easily be applied to seedlings, either lettuce or sugarcane. It is intended create a startup specialized in the selection of beneficial microorganisms, with emphasis on bacteria from Pseudomonas genus that can promote plant growth. It is noteworthy that there are no companies specialized in this theme, working with these bacteria in the market. In this first phase of PIPE we intend to select new growth-promoting bacteria and also from the Collection of Beneficial microorganisms from the IAC, mixed or not with each other and granted by mycorrhizal fungi (FMA) or biocontrol concession of the fungus Trichoderma spp., for the promotion of growth of lettuce seedlings (# new product 1) and sugar cane (# new product 2). The most promising bacteria will also be tested regarding to the control of lettuce nematodes (# new product 3). At the end of this project, the intention is to obtain bacteria strains, especially of Pseudomonas genus, with effect on the growth of sugarcane and lettuce seedlings, to be marketed for companies that produce biological inoculants and private producers that make the production of inoculants on the farm. (AU)

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