Beneficial microorganisms to support growth and health of Ornamental plants

My project was based on crop protection to reduce food insecurity using environmentally friendly products. Production of ornamental geophytes also known as flower bulbs, is facing several challenges including substantial yearly losses from various pathogens of which the soft rot bacterium Pectobacterium carotovorum, viral, and fungal pathogens are the most devastating. These herbaceous perennials consist of underground storage organs such as tubers, bulbs or rhizomes which make them better targets for pathogens. There are no effective control measures up to date for these pathogens, therefore for optimal cut-flower and bulb production it is required to develop alternative disease and insect control measures.

Beneficial microorganisms have been shown to actively colonize plant roots and induce beneficial effects on plant growth and health and therefore, I hypothesized that beneficial microorganism or natural products that were specifically developed to support plants, may improve plant health in soft rot sensitive crops. I aimed at using the growth promoting products or natural plant extracts to improve yield and reduce the development of soft rot disease in the greenhouse crops.

I used three commercial products of beneficial microorganisms or natural plant extracts which were tested as growth supplements applied by watering on Z. aethiopica or O. dubium grown in an experimental greenhouse. I assessed the products effects on soil microbiome, plant growth and health, and on P. carotovorum. In vitro experiments were conducted to test the products potential to induce resistance in plants and antagonize bacterial growth.

I am passionately motivated to implement and further work on this project as it would promote an increased use of beneficial microorganisms or natural products in improving production of ornamental geophytes; reduce the use of synthetic chemical hence reducing the environmentally risks-associated problems.

Beatrice Wausi Gedion, Kenya


  1. Brilliant. This sounds interesting and it wouldnt have come at a better time, especially when Kenya is struggling to address food insecurity.


  2. Wonderful! The scientific question and possible scientific solution are well stipulated. Congratulations. 恭喜恭喜你。


  3. Nice project. Just pay attention on possibility of natural conversion of good microorganisms into bad ones.
    We have such a story in Europe with Mad Roots disease of solanacea family. It started on Biological Farms in England, as result of combination of two bacterial species.
    One was used as bio weapon against another one …. it was very successful for some time. Unexpectedly, new super pathogen came to life from their interaction, and, thanks to global trade, it is now everywhere bringing serious damage to Greenhouses all around the world. I suspect the same story happened with Pistachio industry in USA … some small farmers were trying to do it maximal biological way and created new pathogen that is a serious treat now for all that industry.
    Bio-control is interesting idea development – but it needs lots of caution and knowledge of microbiology. And watchful eye on details. Even with super good intentions those things could go terribly wrong.


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