Canadian Study Finds Little Evidence that Bio-Fertilizers Work

More and more farmers are using bio-fertilizers, inoculants, and microbe additives for their soil in an attempt to improve soil quality. However, a multi-year study at the University of British Columbia Okanagan campus found that added microbes often didn’t establish in the soil, although in some cases they became invasive and took over the soil. In either case, the added microbes seemed to have no effect on the crops grown in the field. Study leader Miranda Hart noted, “If the farmer invested thousands on the inoculate, it may have been a waste of money.” Furthermore, Hart says she is concerned about a lack of knowledge about the environmental effect of microbe introductions. “What we’re doing is releasing invasive species into the environment and we don’t know the long-term effect of what’s happening to the soil.”