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Agricultural uses of plant biostimulants

Calvo, Pamela, Nelson, Louise, Kloepper, Joseph W.
Plant and soil 2014 v.383 no.1-2 pp. 3-41
amino acids, fulvic acids, humic acids, markets, microorganisms, nutrient uptake, plant extracts, plant response, protein hydrolysates, root growth, stress tolerance
BACKGROUND: Plant biostimulants are diverse substances and microorganisms used to enhance plant growth. The global market for biostimulants is projected to increase 12 % per year and reach over $2,200 million by 2018. Despite the growing use of biostimulants in agriculture, many in the scientific community consider biostimulants to be lacking peer-reviewed scientific evaluation. SCOPE: This article describes the emerging definitions of biostimulants and reviews the literature on five categories of biostimulants: i. microbial inoculants, ii. humic acids, iii. fulvic acids, iv. protein hydrolysates and amino acids, and v. seaweed extracts. CONCLUSIONS: The large number of publications cited for each category of biostimulants demonstrates that there is growing scientific evidence supporting the use of biostimulants as agricultural inputs on diverse plant species. The cited literature also reveals some commonalities in plant responses to different biostimulants, such as increased root growth, enhanced nutrient uptake, and stress tolerance.