About this Research Topic
Agricultural practices and technologies play a key role in achieving food safety and security, and promoting sustainable agriculture. The use of plant biostimulants is gaining significant scientific and commercial visibility, and is considered a promising technique to improve the ecological sustainability of crop production whilst also enhancing safety of food production.
Plant biostimulants comprise substances or microorganisms whose increase crop yield, improve nutrient acquisition, increase plant tolerance to stress, stimulate soil processes such as humic substances, amino acids and protein hydrolysates, carbohydrates, algae-derived products, and root growth promoting bacteria, while novel compounds with biostimulant activities are often reported.
The origin and persistence of biostimulants vary widely, imparting positive effects, regardless of their nutritional content on plant growth and resilience, usually at very low concentrations. Combined with their common sourcing from by-products of agricultural and industrial processes, biostimulants may reduce dependency on chemical fertilizers and foster the establishment of eco-friendly, circular economies for agricultural production.
Despite established evidence of biostimulant roles, many functional aspects are still to be fully elucidated. This Research Topic aims to foster the dissemination of research findings on characterizing the physiological mechanisms of bioactive compounds, plant responses to the use of biostimulants and seek to characterize the common metabolic pathways that are elicited. These include the cascade of signaling and communication between the soil-microbe-plant nexus, synergistic effects, stimulant longevity, and the broader implications for agricultural production and sustainability under field conditions.
The aim of this Research Topic is to integrate the current knowledge and potential advances on plant biostimulants and disseminate original findings, technologies, methodologies and approaches to the study of plant biostimulants with central focus on physiological mechanisms involved in the role played by biostimulants in improving plant nutrition, yield, and food quality.
We welcome Original Research, Methods, Opinions and Perspectives articles falling under, but not limited to:
- Investigations of biostimulant modes of action under optimal or stress conditions. Using omics tools to develop a mechanistic understanding of plant responses to biostimulants including that of signal transduction and the development of molecular markers. Please note, descriptive studies using omics approaches with no further functional insights will not be considered for review.
- The development and application of novel chemical and physical techniques to characterize the chemical diversity and function of candidate biostimulants.
- Studies investigating the interaction of biostimulants with soil borne microorganisms and subsequent cross-talk among flora and fauna populations. This includes N fixing and plant growth promoting bacteria combined with humic substances and biomarker development.
- Investigations concerning plant responses to biostimulants under field conditions including the conditioning of the soil-plant system to increase the production of natural biostimulants, effects on food quality and the persistence of biostimulants in the natural environment.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.