1. Nutrient composition: Seaweed contains essential macronutrients, such as nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), as well as micronutrients, like calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and various trace elements. These nutrients are crucial for plant growth and development. When added to the soil, they become available for plant uptake, thus improving soil fertility.
2. Plant growth regulators: Seaweeds are known to contain various plant growth-promoting substances, such as auxins, cytokinins, and gibberellins. These compounds regulate plant growth and development by stimulating cell division, elongation, and differentiation. When applied as a biofertilizer, these substances can enhance root development, increase plant biomass, and improve crop yields.
3. Biostimulant properties: Seaweed extracts have biostimulant properties that can enhance plant tolerance to abiotic stress factors like drought, salinity, and extreme temperatures. They can also improve plant resistance to pests and diseases by promoting the synthesis of defense-related compounds and inducing systemic resistance.
4. Soil structure improvement: Seaweed-based biofertilizers can help improve soil structure by promoting the growth of beneficial soil microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi. These microbes play a vital role in nutrient cycling, decomposition of organic matter, and formation of stable soil aggregates, which improves soil aeration, water-holding capacity, and overall fertility.
5. Environmental benefits: The use of seaweed-based biofertilizers can reduce the dependence on chemical fertilizers, which contribute to environmental issues like groundwater contamination, eutrophication of water bodies, and greenhouse gas emissions. Farmers can minimize the environmental impact of their agricultural practices by using organic and sustainable sources of nutrients.