The Greenhouse Horticulture and Bulbs, Trees and Fruit business units are launching an Evergreen project to carry out research into bulb production using fewer crop protection products.
Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria can facilitate plant growth directly by supplying the plant with nutrients (nitrogen, phosphate and minerals) or indirectly by inhibiting the growth of plant pathogens by producing antibiotics and siderophores. These bacteria can offer a green alternative to chemicals provided they are able to colonize the rhizosphere of the bulbs in a field situation.
In this project we are investigating the effect of two strains of rhizobacteria on growth stimulation and on disease suppression of a fungal pathogen (Fusarium) that is common in tulips and daffodils. We are also investigating whether rhizobacteria colonisation can be encouraged by adding extra substrate (whey) to the soil.
We launched a container trial in November 2017. For the experiment, naturally contaminated soil was collected from a grower. We will be repeating the trial in a field situation next year to test whether colonisation of these bacteria in the rhizosphere is successful and replicable.