by DR. Norm Wilson, Ph.D.
Over recent years, emerging and evolving technologies associated with plant and soil nutrition have brought about new terminology as to their nature. Subsequently, companies have used these buzzwords to promote their products, supposedly designed utilizing the technologies. Words and phrases such as “probiotic”, “microbial”, and “nutrient complexing” have become common in their use, even though true understanding of what they imply may be vague amongst most of the population.
We are going to address “nutrient complexing” or more simply, “complexing”. To understand this process, we must first understand the basic role of the microbial community in plant growth. This is a highly extensive subject, but simply stated, microbes are critical to plant growth, both in the soil and within the plant itself. In essence, nature provides the necessary system by means of numerous populations of bacteria, protozoan, Actinomycetes, fungi and algae, the five major types of microorganisms in the soil. Nature also includes the numerous enzymes that are created and utilized by the microbial community. Through their activity, the soil microbes break down bonded nutrients and alter their state to a form that the plant can effectively take-in and utilize. As long as the soil populations are in balance with respect to the overall function of the community, healthy plant growth is realized. Once an imbalance occurs, however, plant growth and subsequent yield can be greatly diminished.
Man’s efforts to increase and accelerate crop production often exceeds nature’s ability to naturally perform the function of nutrient preparation. Recognizing this problem, methods have been developed to assist nature in a two pronged approach. The first is to reintroduce active micro-organisms into the soil to repopulate and rebalance the soil microbial community. This includes the inoculation of essential and compatible enzymes to support the population. Secondly, methods have been developed to alter conventional manufactured nutrients by a technology known as “complexing”. This involves modifying the molecular form of a given mineral nutrient (as nature does over time in the microbial community). It might be better stated as “de-complexing” to a simpler form.
A given nutrient’s manufactured form has many chemical bonds resulting from mining, extraction, forced reactions, and other preparations to create a readily salable and applicable form, be it liquid or dry. Unfortunately, the plant cannot utilize these bonded forms without the efforts of the soil community which breaks the bonds. By adding specifically designed compounds, such as those produced by ViTech, to the conventional fertilizers, a reaction of breaking these bonds takes place, and the fertilizer material being applied to the crop is in a readily available form. The plant will be able to immediately begin uptake of the “complexed” nutrient.
A key benefit of applying “complexed” nutrients is that less can be applied without jeopardizing the supply that the plant requires. As commonly recognized, a significant percentage of nutrients in the soil are never utilized by the plant due to leaching down beyond the root zone. Nature’s soil community simply does not have adequate time to carry out the process. Products such as ViTech’s ViBasic, ViPlex, Phos, Potassium, and ViCare are designed with elements to promote “complexing” of conventional nutrients both in the respective nutrient material, and in the soil after the material has been applied. Nutrient materials such as UN-32, 10-34-0, 0-52-0, or most any other type of material can be greatly enhanced if properly “complexed”. Less is required, as less is lost to leaching, yet more is immediately available for use by the given crop when it is needed. The result is often a significant reduction of cost-of-inputs, and an increase in yield resulting from improved plant vigor. This equates to great opportunity for improving the bottom line of crop production.