Is continuous water disinfection healthy for your plants?

In the field, one often hears misunderstandings and questions about the negative effect of making water sterile with continuous dosages of disinfection agents. During the disinfection of irrigation water, the “good” bacteria are also eliminated, but is this the reality? With this article, Intrahorti hopes to provide answers and resolve some confusion. First, let’s start with what the differences are in water.

1. Rainwater or any other surface water will always contain a considerable handful of microorganisms and possibly other impurities. Rainwater is healthy and clean enough to give to plants.

2. When you have sterile water, which is free from all microorganisms like fungi, bacteria or spores. The process of boiling water for a specific time and temperature will give you sterile water.

3. Often people confuse sterile water with distilled water, the difference is that distilled water does not contain minerals like salt, calcium or iron.

Let’s take the worries away
However, there are concerns about disinfection products that eliminate ‘good’ and ‘bad’ microorganisms, rendering irrigation water ‘sterile’. However, clean water will be guaranteed with Intra Hydropure. Clean in such a way that it is even safe as drinking water for animals like chickens. Intra Hydropure, an ultra-stabilized hydrogen peroxide, eliminates organic and microbiological contamination and disinfects water down to the last dripper. Arrived at the root, the product is finished reacting on the pollution and decomposes into natural elements water and oxygen. Another concern is that by using products or methods to eliminate bacteria and fungi, we no longer have “good” microorganisms in the water. Bacteria and fungi beneficial to plants generally do not live in water, they live around the roots of a plant (Rasche et al., 2006a,b).

Imagine the plant as a factory, it excretes huge amounts of substances and uses them to “talk” with surrounding organisms. Bacteria on the roots and in the rhizosphere are able to utilize these organic compounds of the plant and will increase the population and develop their metabolic activities. In turn, bacteria and fungi will enhance plant growth and development, for example by fixing nitrogen, interfering with pathogen resistance or supplying other nutrients. Known beneficial microorganisms for plants are rhizobia, mycorrhizae and endophytes (Mitter et al., 2013). The good thing about Intra Hydropure is that the product will not reach the root zone, so plant-beneficial bacteria and fungi are safe in the substrate to do their job.

For plants to do their job, to behave like Olympic athletes, they need clean water, just like animals and humans. Take for example our sewage systems and the city’s drinking water. In the past, many people got sick from drinking city water contaminated with bacteria. Diseases like cholera and typhus were common illnesses caused by contaminated water; the same goes for plants. For both plants and humans, the immune system or gut flora has to work hard to stay healthy. Every imbalance can have a huge negative impact on plant growth, development and yield.

Focus on guaranteed clean water
Groen Agro Control (a Dutch research organization) has studied the importance of clean water and established limit values ​​for good irrigation water that can be used for greenhouse vegetables on substrate (table 1 from March 2013). A limit value is the concentration of a substance in the starting water at which, a culture on the substrate, suffers no damage in growth or production. The limit values ​​were established with a safety margin and applied from the start of cultivation. Unless there are no phytopathogenic fungi and bacteria.

Using Intra Hydropure ensures that these levels are guaranteed. A clean irrigation system and clean, disinfected water keeps you on track for healthy plants.

Mitter, B., Brader, G., Afzal, M., Compant, S., Naveed, M., Trognitz, F., & Sessitsch, A. (2013). Advances in the elucidation of beneficial interactions between plants, soil and bacteria. Advances in Agronomy, 121, 381-445. Rasche, F., Hödl, V., Poll, C., Kandeler, E., Gerzabek, MH, Van Elsas, JD, & Sessitsch, A. (2006). Rhizosphere bacteria affected by transgenic potatoes with antibacterial activities in relation to the effects of soil, wild-type potatoes, vegetation stage, and pathogen exposure. FEMS Microbiological Ecology, 56(2), 219-235. Rasche, F., Velvis, H., Zachow, C., Berg, G., Van Elsas, JD and Sessitsch, A. (2006). The impact of transgenic potatoes expressing antibacterial agents on bacterial endophytes is comparable to the effects of plant genotype, soil type, and pathogen infection. Journal of Applied Ecology, 43(3), 555-566.

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