As a result of research carried out at the University of Agriculture in Krakow, in cooperation with the Dolomite Mines of the PBI Group, developed innovative fertilizer formulas based on dolomite and elemental sulfur, stimulating soil fertility and improving plant health. It was found that the use of the innovative recipe may reduce the occurrence of pathogenic fungi in crops that cause, among others, wilt and death of plants and significantly improves the soil pH. The research was carried out in close cooperation and service from the Innovation Center of the University of Agriculture in Krakow Ltd. The effect of these fertilizers on the growth and development of soil and epiphytic species of fungi and bacteria in laboratory conditions was assessed. Employees of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry and the Department of Microbiology and Biomonitoring at the Faculty of Agriculture and Economics participated in the research.
As part of the completed task, new formulas of foliar fertilizers containing sulfur with the addition of selected microelements and biologically active substances were developed. Using elemental sulfur in fertilization provides an ingredient necessary for plant nutrition and improves their health, increasing plant resistance to fungal and bacterial diseases. Moreover, elemental sulfur is known to be an important factor influencing microorganisms, including pathogenic ones, for crops. The tests used native sulfur, mined by the PBI Group in Basznia Dolna in the Podkarpacie region. The raw material, characterized by a purity of 99.98%, is obtained from an environmentally friendly deposit using the underground smelting method.
The aim of the task was to evaluate the effect of new sulfur-based fertilizer formulas on the growth and development of soil and epiphytic species of fungi and bacteria (including important phytopathogenic species) under laboratory conditions.
On the basis of the obtained results, recommendations for practice were presented, indicating that the use of new formulas of sulfur foliar fertilizers in the crops of: cereals, maize, rape, potato, lupine, peas, sugar and fodder beet, flax, tomato, cucumber, cabbage, root vegetables, and onion ornamental plants, astra and carnation, may reduce the occurrence of pathogenic fungi. They cause plant wilt, decay of seedlings, roots and stems, plant death, rot of various plant organs, tuber poisoning, snow mold and plant fusariosis. The effect of foliar sulfur fertilizers on bacteria depended primarily on their species. They inhibited the development of Ervinia carotovora bacteria the most.
In the field of research on the impact of new fertilizer formulations on soil properties, two incubation experiments were carried out – the first one determined the effects of application of soil calcium-magnesium-sulfur fertilizers, and the second – soil calcium-magnesium-sulfur fertilizers enriched with organic matter, nitrogen fertilizer, microelements and surfactants.
Two new fertilizers were recommended on the basis of the first experiment and three new fertilizers to be placed on the market in the second experiment.
The recommended calcium-magnesium-sulfur fertilizers improved the soil pH, which was confirmed by the results of the determination of its hydrolytic acidity. They also corrected the values of the sum of exchangeable alkaline cations and the saturation of the sorption complex with soil alkaline cations, and increased the soil abundance in sulfate sulfur available for plants. All these activities were stronger compared to the facility where a comparable market fertilizer was applied.
The proposed formulas of calcium-magnesium-sulfur fertilizers enriched with various additives had a positive effect on the content of sulphate sulfur, the availability of certain nutritional micronutrients, and also, in relation to one formulation, on the content of organic carbon in the soil used in the research.