At the end of November 2017, about 1,200 researchers, regulators, and business representatives gathered in Miami, Florida for the 3rd Biostimulants World Congress. The rapid growth of the event reveals the strength of the emerging biostimulants sector. But look a little closer, and a different picture comes into focus: in some ways, biostimulants are less a separate new sector and more a reflection of connecting dots between existing technology siloes.
The emergence of biostimulants is due at least as much to a fresh way of looking at crop production — with a systems-thinking mindset — as to technological breakthroughs.
Whether in the regulatory arena or in marketing, biostimulants have made it clear that there are unavoidable interactions between plant nutrition and plant protection. Our growing understanding of microorganisms has also taught us that there are not even clear boundaries between plants and their surrounding environment. These insights are not unique to the plant world.