14 Nov 2018

Crop yields could be boosted by seaweed

Seaweed technology could be the answer to boosting crop yields at a time of declining chemical efficacy, with scientific breakthroughs revealing the multiple benefits of algae.

To date, a lot of seaweed is being processed and sold as plant booster however until now there has been a lack of understanding as to how the active ingredients within marine algae interact with a crop and its environment.

It’s been the work of The Olmix Group, who have invested tens of millions of euros into algae research and innovation since 2012, who have been able to showcase what marine algae is cable of, within a farm environment.

With farmers under pressure to produce more from less to be able to feed the planet in a sustainable way, it’s been suggested that algae could be the answer.

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The science behind seaweed

When broken down into its components: carbohydrates, proteins, sulphated polysaccharides and nutrients, the seaweed can then be used to boost crop and soil health, explains Didier Blin, plant care manager at Olmix.

“Each has a different action on the plant, from growth stimulation to boosting the plant’s natural defence mechanisms against stress,” he adds.

Combined with micronutrients, inorganic acids, or clay, the products can be applied at different growth stages for maximum effect, and thus seaweed is seen to complement crop and soil health and is not the only part of nutrition.

There are more than 9,800 species of seaweed, with a greater genetic diversity than fungi and animals combined. Many elements – such as sulphated polysaccharides – are not present in land plants, which is what makes them so useful.

As crops don’t recognise marine sulphated polysaccharides they respond with immune aggression, which improves their resistance to stress or disease.

Could this provide the backbone for crop production in the future?

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