Microbial inoculants are one of the most versatile and fascinating eco-friendly treatments currently available to the American household. Also commonly referred to as a soil inoculant or bioremediation bacteria, these compounds use beneficial microbes to restore imbalanced environments to a natural, life-supporting state, promoting environmental health on both the micro and macro levels.
Those who are familiar with microbial inoculants often think of them as agricultural fertilizer amendments that promote healthy, robust yields and drought resistance. This is by far the most popular use for microbial inoculants, but there are a myriad of additional applications for both inside and outside of the home.
The following are the most common outdoor uses for microbial inoculants.
Soil Amendment & Conditioner
The best known use of microbial inoculants is as a soil amendment, conditioner or biofertilizer. Microbial inoculants are frequently used in commercial agricultural – especially organic farming – but also yield fantastic results in home gardens, lawn maintenance or greenhouses. A microbial inoculant promotes beneficial soil microbe communities by contributing high levels of polysaccharides, and beneficial organic acids and/or enzymes. This, in turn, enhances aggregate stability and soil structure. A strong soil structure prevents the pore spaces in the soil from collapsing during heavy rainfall, decreases over-compaction caused by machinery, and reduces soil erosion and run-off. The result is a stable and well-formed soil aggregate that is more resistant to disease, more capable of absorbing and retaining moisture, and more efficient at cycling vital nutrients. Microbial inoculants have also been known to enhance crop productivity by stimulating plant hormone production.
Microbial inoculants can also be used to treat water in outdoor water features, ponds, reservoirs, rivers, oceans and industrial waste-water plants. Water environments can go out of balance due to pollution, algae, stagnation, mosquito infestations and the like. A microbial inoculant treatment can keep the environment balanced and even correct a hazardous environment by increasing the beneficial microbes. These organisms will keep nutrient levels low enough to keep the water clear, and can also neutralize salts, such as calcium, preventing crystallizing on surfaces. It is an environmentally sound and cost effective method for maintaining your water environment’s health. In fact, the use of microbial inoculants in industrial waste-water facilities has been proven to decrease overhead by reducing chemical inputs, electricity costs, labor costs, and factory maintenance.
Compost Efficiency Accelerant
Microbial inoculants can also increase compost and anaerobic fermentation efficiency, speeding along the breakdown of organic matter and the compost process in general. In these instances, the beneficial bacteria convert organic materials into humus, binding nutrients to create a rich organic humus biofertilizer for plants that is safe, organic and enhances the plants’ resistance to stress and reduces soil borne pathogens. Likewise, the microbes produce enzymes, bio-available trace minerals, antioxidants, vitamins, and support other naturally occurring microbial communities. The result is an efficient, healthy compost pile that produces less smell, attracts fewer pests, and significantly reduces disease-producing pathogens resulting from compost putrefaction.