Benefits of Kelp
For as long as seaweed has been used in agriculture, it is probably the most underutilized product in the agricultural industry.
For as long as seaweed has been used in agriculture, it is probably the most underutilized product in the agricultural industry. Properly processed seaweed extracts have been known to contain natural phytohormones such as auxin-like and cytokinin-like compounds responsible for root and top shoot growth. Studies have shown through bioassay analysis that these stimulatory compounds have growth-promoting abilities to increase root mass, increase dry weight of plant mass, and an increase of yields compared to control groups of water only. Trace elements along with enzymes found within seaweed like iron, zinc, manganese, and copper act as catalysts for enzymatic activity promoting and aiding in metabolic functions throughout plants.
Some of the unique compounds contained within kelp are organic acids like alginic acid and L-chain amino acids. These compounds, along with mannitol, provide excellent chelating abilities unlocking a series of bound up minerals inside the soil and increasing nutrient uptake into the plant. Polysaccharides found within the seaweed extracts congeal within the soil and provide moisture retention and increase organic matter inside the soil. This promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria and fungi that feed on the sugars and organic content within the kelp. Beneficial bacteria and fungi like mycorrhizae, bacillus bacteria, and trichoderma spp. all aid in warding harmful pathogens away, solubilizing insoluble minerals, and promote root growth facilitating nutrient absorption.
Utilizing seaweed extracts in crop production can be extremely beneficial if used correctly. Higher application rates (1:100) showed an increase in cellular respiration of the plant, but stagnated plant growth. Lower concentrations ranging from 1:500 - 1:1000+ has shown not only an increase in plant respiration showing metabolic activity, but also accelerated plant growth and quicker maturation of the plant. Proper product use is just as important as proper product formulation.