By: Paola Ganugi, Erika Martinelli, Luigi Lucini
Department for Sustainable Food Process, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza, Italy
Microbial biostimulants are designed by the recent EU Regulation 2019/1009 and involve non-pathogenic and non-toxigenic microorganisms, such as Azotobacter spp., Rhizobium spp., Azospirillum spp. and mycorrhizal fungi. Generally, they represent a green approach to improve plant and rhizosphere characteristics, including abiotic/biotic stress resistance, qualitative traits and soil nutrients content availability. This could be translated in a sustainable approach aimed at minimizing agrochemical applications and promoting environmental sustainability.
However, despite the scanty information availability, an additional interest in microbial biostimulants use is increasing because of their potential role in food functional quality mitigating. Plant-beneficial microorganisms symbiosis have shown a better performance to cope with environmental stress (drought, salinity) and pathogen attacks, principally linked to the accumulation of defense-related secondary metabolites. These metabolites reflect are also health-promoting compounds which have a functional role in human nutrition, improving some organoleptic characteristics (aroma, color) and nutraceutical value.