The European Union was first to introduce guidelines overseeing the production and use of biostimulants. The European Biostimulant Industry Coalition (EBIC) provides guidance on regulatory issues to producers, stakeholders, public policy makers, and the general public. In the U.S., biostimulants are not a defined and recognized product category yet but registration may still be possible at the state level as a plant or soil amendment.
U.S. government agencies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have not yet agreed on how to define biostimulants. They are working with industry organizations and nonprofits including the Biostimulant Coalition, the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO), and the Biological Products Industry Alliance (BPIA) to provide guidance on how biostimulant production, sale, and use is being handled.
What are biostimulants?
Biostimulants are still an emerging class of products that indirectly impact soil quality and provide plant nutrition. Like other biological products, biostimulants are composed of diverse natural and biological substances, including microorganisms and plant extracts. Due to their ability to change how a plant responds to environmental stressors, such as changing temperatures, precipitation levels, and other climatic factors, biostimulants are useful tools for addressing the challenges of feeding a growing population. Additionally, biostimulants can improve crop quality, facilitate nutrient uptake, promote plant growth and development, and prevent nutrients needed to improve plant vigor from leaching out of the soil into nearby ecosystems.
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