Much of the phosphate you apply to your field through fertilizer bonds to soil particles and other elements in the soil making it unavailable to the crop each growing season. A small percentage of bound phosphate will gradually be converted into available forms, but this does not happen quickly or efficiently enough to meet the demands of high-yielding crops. At least 25% of the phosphate in soils never becomes available, making it crucial to get the most efficient use of fertilizer phosphate.
Products such as JumpStart and TagTeam contain the naturally occurring soil fungus Penicillium bilai. P. bilaii colonizes (grows along) plant roots, releasing compounds that release the bound mineral forms of soil and fertilizer phosphate, making it more available for the crop to use. P. bilaii does not replace the need for phosphate fertilizer, but it helps crops access more nutrients for higher yield potential.
Bret Gygi, Technology Development Lead for Monsanto BioAg, talks phosphate availability.