RHP participates in research project on microbiological quality of growing media

1 september 2022

RHP participates in the recently started Top Sector research project on the microbiological quality of growing media. Together with other parties, we are working towards eventually realising growing media with a guaranteed microbiological activity, including a thorough culture advice to maintain the right microbial properties during the culture.

In full, the PPP project (public-private partnership) is called ‘Towards a standard for measuring the microbiological quality of growing media based on renewable raw materials’. Glastuinbouw Nederland is responsible for project management; Wageningen University & Research (WUR) is conducting the research. RHP and other private parties contribute with knowledge and expertise. Knowledge and methodologies arising from this project are important to RHP and its affiliated, certified companies.

Microbial life

Application of organic raw materials and organic fertilisers cause an increase and change of microbial life in growing media. Organic materials other than peat, are increasingly applied in substrate production. For example: coir products, wood fibre, (composted) bark and compost. A lot is still unknown about the composition of microbial life in the various growing media, its effect on the culture and aspects including resistance to diseases. It is of the utmost importance to gain more insight into this.

Never done before

So far, no intensive research has taken place in this area. This project is the first research project that will provide more clarity about the broad micro-life in growing media. In doing so, it will give direction to how we will view and deal with microbial life in growing media in the future.

The research

The project starts with the development of a standard culture test to record the composition and activity of microbial life in a growing medium. This test becomes the basis for comparing different growing media, raw materials and additives in relation to different culture situations and crops. In the coming years, the effect of various organic raw materials on microbial life in the growing medium will be analysed in different circumstances in potted plants and tree nursery crops.

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