Understanding Bacillus

Hi, it's Keith Giertych from Growth Products USA.Kieth Giertych

Whether you're working the tough red clay in Georgia or some of the poor sandy soils I've seen in Australia, all plants need the same components for healthy growth.

I'm pleased to say that I've helped growers from Seattle to Singapore achieve success, with all aspects of growing, by offering products that work in virtually any growing situation; golf course greens, fruit trees, landscaping, greenhouses and more. One product I'd like to focus on in this newsletter is our EPA registered* Companion® Biological Fungicide*. (Not registered in Australia - see footnote below)

Companion is like a gift that keeps giving, building a foundation for good growth by adding beneficial microbes, called bacilli, to the soil. With the proper temperature and water these microbes multiply. As they do so they form a symbiotic relationship with plants, feeding off decayed matter while protecting the plant from fungal disease. The plant responds by forming healthy, white roots where bacilli colonize and guard against fungal attack.

Understanding Bacillus

Bacillus Subtilis GB03The beneficial microbes in Companion are composed of Bacillus subtillis GB03. It's important to understand how Bacillus subtillus and other bacilli work in the soil and to know that not all bacilli are the same.

When you pick up a handful of soil you're holding millions of these tiny microbes in the palm of your hand. Bacilli are like "little workers" in the soil, consuming the carbon in organic matter, which could include dead roots from sickly, or poor performing plants. The carbon is transformed into food — major and minor nutrients — for plants to utilize.

Different strains of the bacteria Bacillus perform different functions in the soil. The strain that our research team has identified, GB03, helps build strong, healthy roots that resist fungal attack. Consequently, plants treated with GB03 form vigorous, fibrous roots that efficiently utilize water and nutrients in the soil.

There is also an antibiotic (Iturin) produced by the GB03 Bacillus in Companion. Not all products on the market that contain Bacillus can make this claim. These types of antibiotics further reduce the threat of fungi developing, by disrupting the pathogen cell-wall formation and making room for the fast colonizing, beneficial bacteria GB03.

Working With Growers Around the Globe

I currently work with growers in over 25 countries. These growers are always amazed at how well their plants respond to Companion with regular use. They're also pleased with the money they save. Where they were once spending $2,000 an acre on a golf course green for chemical inputs (i.e., fertilizer and pesticides), they're now spending about $400 dollars an acre with Companion. Growers are reporting a 50-60% reduction in chemical usage with regular applications of Companion.

Companion Biological Fungicide* is a versatile product. Chemical fertilizers can be mixed with Companion and applied via a tank sprayer. It has a long shelf life as well, storing up to two years with no loss of spore life and up to 7 years while maintaining 96% spore life. There is no water in a container of Companion, the bacilli come to life when exposed to water and soil.

Shifting Away from Chemicals

Growers are encountering more resistance from their respective governments to get approval for the use of certain chemicals. Quite frankly, they're hard on our increasingly fragile environment and as growers become more aware of the gravity of this responsibility these earth-friendly practices will serve growers and the public alike.

There is also the problem of dependency with the chemicals themselves. The more you use, the more you have to use. Plants become increasingly resistant to these chemicals, demanding more and more to achieve the same results. Greenhouse growers have also reported less root mass in cell packs when relying synthetic fungicides.

Finally, chemical companies are having a tougher time coming up with new chemicals to replace or supplement the old chemicals that are becoming less effective due to plant resistance. And of course, chemicals are expensive.

Bacillus is just the opposite. For the plant, it's kind of like a trip to a spa. The bacilli want to pamper the plant, breaking down nutrients into a usable form, guarding the roots, and producing antibodies. The reward for the bacilli is the ability to multiply in the soil as they feed off organic matter. The more they multiply the more they provide the marvelous benefits mentioned above.

However, as also mentioned above, not all bacillus are the same. You get what you pay for. With Companion you get a product that has been well researched and endorsed by the EPA and by university research teams, including the University of Florida and University of California - Davis.

Growth Products also offers a host of other environmentally friendly products, including products with some of the lowest salt indices in the industry. And for organic growers we offer BioNutrients AG 8-1-9, an all organic product approved for use by certified organic growers.

Distributors for our products are available in many countries around the world. Contact us so you can start realizing the benefits of our beneficial organisms found in Companion Biological Fungicide*. (Not registered in Australia - see footnote below)

This article is a reprint of an American article where Companion is a registered fungicide. Companion does not have APVMA registration in Australia, however it is available from Fernland Agencies where we sell it as a ‘Microbial Inoculant’.


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