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Industry News » Zinc solubilizing inoculant help increase yield of rice and corn – BIOTECH-UPLB

The use of a zinc solubilizing inoculant in marginal and zinc-deficient conditions has increased the yield of rice by up to 1.5 to 2 tons/ha (t/ha) reaching up to 4.5 t/ha. For corn, use of the inoculant has increased yield by 10%.

Moreover, the zinc solubilizing inoculant can be a viable and cost-efficient alternative to nitrogen and zinc fertilizer since it is only priced 10% of the combined cost of zinc and nitrogen fertilizers.

Inoculants use beneficial microbes to improve plant health.

This was the result of the research conducted by the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (BIOTECH-UPLB). The paper was presented during the National Symposium on Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (NSAARRD) and garnered third place in the Best R&D Paper -Research Category. The award was conferred during the DOST-PCAARRD’s 2021 S&T Awards and Recognition ceremony held on November 29, 2021.

NSAARRD, spearheaded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD), recognizes outstanding contributions in the agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources sector in the country.

According to the project team that includes Mr. Robert A. Nepomuceno, Ms. Cristine Marie B. Brown, Dr. Mannix S. Pedro, and Dr. Marilyn B. Brown, traditional methods in rice and corn production usually rely on inorganic fertilizers and pesticides. However, constant use of inorganic inputs is not sustainable and is detrimental to the environment.

The team developed the zinc solubilizing inoculant considering that zinc serves as one of the most important micronutrients for plant growth. However, zinc deficiency is commonly observed in crop cultivation not only in the Philippines but all over the world.

Locations in the Philippines that require soil zinc supplementation are usually planted with corn and rice. These are Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Laguna, Mindoro, Aurora, and Aklan. The project team cited that zinc deficiency is most pronounced in rice during the seedling stage after transplanting.

The project identified four locations that were zinc deficient: Aklan, Mindoro, Tarlac, and Dumaguete. Soil and root samples were collected from these sites and screened for zinc solubilizing bacteria.

Results of the project indicated that use of inoculant was more effective in marginal and zinc-deficient soil. This implies that the inoculant can improve rice production and promote zinc biofortification of rice and corn. It can also address dietary zinc deficiency especially in poor communities in the country.

The project is supported by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR).


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