University of Missouri Study Reveals FoliarBlend®'s Impact on Soil Health  -  Increasing Native Microbial Richness and Diversity

Soil Health: University of Missouri Study Reveals FoliarBlend®'s Impact on Soil Health - Increasing Native Microbial Richness and Diversity

We often report that our crop production products are proven to enhance soil health and plant nutrition, but we know that research results speak louder than words. In today's post, we'll review the results of a recent study in which the effectiveness of AgriGro® FoliarBlend® is self-evident.


FoliarBlend® Soil Health and Plant Nutrition Study

In a research trial conducted by Dr. R.J. Kremer at the University of Missouri, FoliarBlend® was shown to impact the soil's microbial richness and diversity in corn trials.


Treatments: AG = FoliarBlend® applied Control = No FoliarBlend® applied Pioneer hybrid planted June 16, 2017 FoliarBlend® soil application 6/18: 32oz/A, applied over row FoliarBlend® applied 7/16: 16oz/A, 30 days post-emergence; 10 leaf Soil sampling - Two replicate samples collected at 0- to 3-inch depths: T0. June 16 T2. July 15 T1. July 5 T3. August 18


All soils receiving FoliarBlend® treatment (AG) showed increased microbial (bacterial) “richness” overall sample times illustrated below. OTU number significantly (0.01% probability) higher for AG compared to no AG.

Mean Number OTUs (operational taxonomy units)

Deeper Understanding

FoliarBlend® treatments showed increased “diversity,” which is a function of richness and evenness of distribution of different microbial (bacterial) groups in soil, illustrated as the “Shannon Index” in the graph below. Significantly (0.01% probability) higher for AG compared with no AG. Shannon Index: A measure of species biodiversity in the soil environment. In the study of FoliarBlend® and corn, this is specifically a measurement of soil bacterial biodiversity. But it’s important to define biodiversity, which is considered the variability among living bacteria from the soil ecosystem. In order to place a quantitative value to express biodiversity, the Shannon Index is calculated using the total number of bacteria (abundance), the number of individual bacteria representing different species (species richness), and how evenly distributed are the numbers of the various species within the soil (evenness). So, biodiversity is a measure that incorporates numbers of bacteria and the range (variety) and distribution of the various bacterial species in soil. The index can be used to account for the magnitude of change in bacterial populations due to some change in their environment, such as that imposed by a management practice, i.e. treatment with a biological product. The higher value of the Shannon Index, the greater the biodiversity.

Mean Shannon Index


FoliarBlend® improved soil microbial richness (numbers of species) and microbial diversity, leading to enhanced plant nutrition. Microbial diversity is critical for efficiently driving biological processes that require several microbial groups to complete each process. FoliarBlend® enhanced the abundance of specific bacterial groups, all of which mediated important soil biological processes.

Multiple processes are implicated in the beneficial effects on increased bacterial abundance due to FoliarBlend® treatment, including:

  • Nutrient cycling and plant availability of nutrients
  • N fixation
  • C cycling including photosynthesis stimulation in cyanobacteria
  • SOM formation
  • Residue decomposition
  • Soil structure improvement
  • Production of plant growth-regulating compounds
  • Overall improved soil health
  • And for this soil, initial steps in restoring a degraded cultivated soil to more productive state

Better resolution of effects of FoliarBlend® relative to control treatments may be found with a careful sampling of soil within the root zone or rhizosphere of the crop since this is the site of greatest microbial activity.


Enjoy the Benefit of Enhanced Plant Nutrition

FoliarBlend® is a powerful treatment that both enhances soil health and improves plant nutrition. When added to your growing efforts, you can enjoy the benefit of increased growth and development rates, increased yields and crop production quality, and enhanced plant vigor and resilience. To learn more about AgriGro® plant nutrition products, locate a dealer near you today.