Plant Immune Systems

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

I’m frequently talking about how technologies greatest impact on agriculture could be in new measurements. New research has uncovered a previously unknown means by which plants are able to regulate how their immune systems respond to pathogens.

 “A group of small peptides, referred to as RALFs (Rapid Alkalinization Factors), serve to dampen immune signaling — preventing further response once the infection has been dealt with by the plant’s immune system.”  The article further states that “Immune responses need to be ‘turned off’ once the threat is eliminated — otherwise, there can be negative effects on the organism. In humans, this can result in autoimmune disorders. In plants, we see stunted growth and other detrimental effects.”

“If you increase immunity broadly in crops, you’ll have a decrease in yield — the plants may be stunted because they’re constantly prepared to fight infection, rather than growing. We need to understand that balance so that we can improve the immune response in crops, without those detrimental effects. Knowing how to ‘flip that switch’ is key.”

There are a number of products available that trigger plant responses in a positive way but this article reminds me that we need to be very diligent in our efforts. Foliar applications can incite induced activated resistance (IAR), which is a growers way of stimulating a protective response similar to what a healthy plant does when it’s challenged by a pest, which is called systemic acquired response (SAR).

Unless a grower is facing some major crop concerns, I believe it’s best to have a planned crop protocol that incorporates a balanced approach to overall crop nutrition.  The Andaman Ag approach recognizes the various stages of  a particular crops developmental cycle and applies materials that enhance and take full advantage of the crop active growth activities at those key stages.

Andaman Ag has now developed crop protocols for a large number of crops that involves the application of mostly sustainable and organic nutrients and amendments. Our clients are reporting superior crop and fruit quality, improved plant health late into the season coupled with better than historic yields.