Dr Uwe Stroeher heads up Neutrog’s Research & Development team
Research and Development is at the heart of what we do and what we care for at Neutrog.
We strive to deliver innovative, first-class products by expanding Research and Development activities both in-house and in collaboration with external partners at universities and research institutes.
Much of our initial research has centred on bacteria and the roles they play in the decomposition of organic matter. Through our own efforts, we have invented new and improved ways of composting, manufacturing and delivering fertilisers. We have also identified and isolated bacteria that perform specific roles, which will revolutionise our products and our processes. The flow-on effect is mind boggling – more sustainable, robust and nutrient-rich environments from which we can help feed the world. As we continue to delve into the natural science of microbiology, the future is literally alive with possibilities.
The following are some of our possibilities that have become (or are becoming) realities:
The Poultus System is a propriety owned and developed static air composting system designed to save energy costs, speed up the composting timeframe and reduce the composting footprint. It includes a revolutionary, patent pending, inoculant delivery system which delivers beneficial microbes (eNcase) into the compost via the airflow piping system.
eNcase contains a wide diversity of naturally selected microbes well known for the ability to degrade organic materials containing high levels of cellulose—ideal for use in speeding up the composting process and for reducing related odours. eNcase can also be used to aid in the decomposition of crop stubbles and thatch in lawns and turf, also speeding up the production of humic acid within the soil. It has been used as the basis for much of our initial research, and from it we are creating innovative products that have far-reaching benefits.
GOGO Juice is a diverse collection of microbes designed to be used as a probiotic within the soil. It contains a wide diversity of bacteria and fungi capable of liberating and unlocking plant nutrients trapped in either an insoluble form or within organic materials. GOGO Juice also contains a variety of other actives such as natural growth hormones, vitamins, amino acids and humic acid, derived from the bacterial digestion of organic materials such as kelp, fish, Lucerne and coal, during the brewing process. GOGO Juice is an ideal defensive aid against frost, heat or moisture stress and also useful on soils which have been stressed by heat, water logging or by chemical use.
Whoflungdung is a biologically activated, nutrient rich, weed free, absorbent, super mulch. It’s composted, inoculated with eNcase and filled with nutrients, so that when added to soil it introduces a wide diversity of beneficial bacteria. These beneficial bacteria readily proliferate through the soil, acting as a barrier/deterrent to pathogenic bacteria, providing a safe environment for healthy plant growth. Additionally, Whoflungdung is sustainable – it is a recycled waste product, made up of straw and wood shavings screened from chicken manure. In many instances Neutrog supplies the fertiliser that grows the crop from which the straw is sourced. Now that is sustainability. Most significantly, Whoflungdung reduces, if not eliminates, the nitrogen draw-down which is often reflected in plants after mulch has been applied. Apart from reducing weeds, many users also happily report that blackbirds don’t like it.
Rare Fruit Arboretum
One of the highlights at Neutrog has been the establishment of the ‘Rare Fruit Arboretum’ at Neutrog’s Kanmantoo site. The project is a joint venture between Neutrog and the Rare Fruit Society of South Australia. Some 300 fruit trees have been planted across two areas, made up of 150 differing varieties of peaches, nectarines, figs, apples, pears and quinces. This project will play a significant role in the conservation of these varieties, plus it provides a unique opportunity for Neutrog and its Research Development team to carry out further research and development into determining the optimum nutritional and biological needs of these fruit trees. The arboretum is an extension of the relationship Neutrog established with the Rare Fruit Society of SA a number of years ago when it teamed up with its members to develop, trial and release Neutrog’s well known, organic-based vegetable, fruit and citrus fertiliser ‘Gyganic’.
Currently Under Development
Recent research has been focussed around a species of fungi called Trichoderma, which form a mutualistic relationship with the plant’s root system, thereby keeping the pathogen away. Trichoderma may control other fungi by parasitising them (basically destroying pathogenic fungal types), as well as producing compounds which can inhibit the growth of competing organisms. There is also good evidence to show that Trichoderma can induce the plant’s own defence mechanisms. We are in the process of isolating and testing a range of Trichoderma species to check their ability to compete against a range of pathogens – in particular major fungal problem species such as Rhizoctonia and Scleractinia, the parasitic oomycote Pythium and Fusarium.
Litterbugs is a biological product specifically developed to control and reduce the ammonia levels in the bedding materials of housed animals such as poultry and pigs, which makes for a more productive, much healthier and less odorous environment for the animals (and farmers). Litterbugs contains a unique selection of bacteria, capable of nitrification and denitrification, carried out by releasing the nitrogen trapped in ammonia to the atmosphere. Litterbugs also has the potential to be used for reducing odours from domestic household cat litters and from urine smells in soft furnishings. We are in the process of conducting formal efficacy trials at Adelaide University (partly funded by a federal research grant). If successful, Litterbugs will potentially have world-wide applications.
Depth Charger reduces the surface tension of the diluted inoculant, allowing for the bacteria within to penetrate crop stubble, thatch and other organic materials, thereby speeding up decomposition, unlocking nutrients and improving the soil’s ability to retain moisture.
Catcandoo is our own kitty litter. It contains an inoculant additive to help nullify odour (based on the Litterbugs principle).
Dead Horse is our specialised tomato fertiliser that is currently being developed in collaboration with the iconic Diggers Club, Australia’s largest garden club, to produce the optimum balance of nutrients.
Fatal Attraction is in its developmental stage, however, slowly but surely, it will become an organic, environmentally friendly snail bait.