EBIC members worked throughout the summer to agree a sector definition of biostimulants:
Agricultural biostimulants include diverse formulations of compounds, substances and other products that are applied to plants or soils to regulate and enhance the crop’s physiological processes, thus making them more efficient. Biostimulants act on plant physiology through different pathways than nutrients to improve crop vigour, yields, quality and post-harvest shelf life/conservation.
Biostimulants foster plant growth and development throughout the crop life cycle from seed germination to plant maturity in a number of demonstrated ways, including but not limited to:
- Improving the efficiency of the plant’s metabolism to induce yield increases and enhanced crop quality;
- Increasing plant tolerance to and recovery from abiotic stresses;
- Facilitating nutrient assimilation, translocation and use;
- Enhancing quality attributes of produce, including sugar content, colour, fruit seeding, etc.;
- Regulating and improving plant water balance;
- Enhancing certain physicochemical properties of the soil and fostering the development of complementary soil microorganisms.
What distinguishes biostimulants from traditional crop inputs?
- Biostimulants operate through different mechanisms than fertilizers, regardless of the presence of nutrients in the products.
- Biostimulants differ from crop protection products because they act only on the plant’s vigour and do not have any direct actions against pests or disease.
- Crop biostimulation is thus complementary to crop nutrition and crop protection.