Soil Health

Soil Microbial Ecology


Field Trials

Agriculture is one of Australia’s most important industries, despite the difficulties faced in our tough, uncompromising environment. Innovation and efficiency have been critical factors behind Australian farming, and Bioscience has been helping farmers and growers succeed for over 25 years.

Our particular strength is understanding soil from every perspective, from the way it retains water and nutrients, the way it behaves physically, and most importantly, the complex biology of how microbes within soil interact with, support, and sometimes harm plants.

With our practical experience and research into crop nutrition, soil stability and soil microbial ecology we have developed world leading products and technology to keep farmers on track to achieve healthier soils that promote sustainable, profitable plant production.

Sustainable, profitable and efficient solutions.

After many years of working and talking with farmers, and research into crop nutrition, soil stability and soil microbial ecology we have developed world leading products and technology to keep farmers on track to achieve healthier soils that promote sustainable, profitable plant production.

Is your soil healthy?

Bioscience can measure the microbial diversity of your soil.

An understanding of microbial species in your soil allows us to determine which soil management strategies will be effective. Our lab can accurately measure the microbial diversity for up to 10 groups of important soil organisms: fungi, archea, all bacteria, and groups of important soil bacteria.

Bioscience ARISA assay can compare microbial diversity across fields, plots, treatments, management approaches, and amendment types.

This is the first such commercial service available anywhere in the world.


Using the power of genetics for land management

A bioscience ARISA assay requires as little as 2g of soil to run a full detection panel. The assay will return data for up to 10 microbial groups that are critical to determining soil health.

Once a test has been performed, we can determine and implement an appropriate treatment plan to restore your soils health.

What we do?

Operational taxonomic unit (OTU) counts are an index of the number of species of that group in the soil sample. Principle components analysis (PCA) reveals how the composition of the OTUs (equivalent to species) in the microbial communities have shifted in response to a treatment.


Soil Microbial Ecology

Ecology is important for understanding your soil

Ecology aims to understand the distribution and abundance of organisms, and their functions in a community. An organism’s ecology is moderated by interactions with both the non-living environment and with other organisms. An ecosystem, for example a soil ecosystem, is a community of interacting organisms. Species-rich ecosystems with many interactions are more stable.

Healthy soils are diverse ecosystems

Healthy soils are complex ecosystems containing many species. Specific soil fungi and bacteria are associated with plant roots. Rhizosphere fungi and bacteria are functionally important to their plants.

Healthy soils have a highly diverse microbiota. Recent research estimates that 1 gram of a typical soil sample contains 10 000 species of bacteria or 1010 bacterial cells per square centimeter (Fierer et al, 2011). The latest genetics techniques are allowing us to discover soil microbiota that could not previously be studied.

A unique microbiota are specifically associated with plant roots. Plant rhizosphere soil contains a very different community of bacteria and fungi compared to the soil matrix. Many rhizosphere bacteria require metabolically active plant root cells to persist, and many fungi live symbiotically within plant roots.

A diverse soil microbiota results in improved soil ecosystem service

Soils with high microbial diversity suppress plant diseases spread in soil. Higher soil bacterial and fungal diversity increases soil functioning including higher soil nutrient cycling, increases soil decomposition rates, and higher plant productivity.

Bioprime is a unique soil priming agent that works by changing soil microbiology. Bioprime is composed of a huge range of signalling molecules. When applied to soil, even in very small amounts, Bioprime changes diversity within a wide range of important soil microbial groups, promoting the development and diversity of beneficial microbes. The outcome of these changes is a stronger plant, better root growth, and ultimately a more efficient system. Greater growth efficiency equals better profits.

The raw materials used to make Bioprime are natural products which are manufactured using a patented process. Bioprime is non-toxic and completely biodegradable.

How does it work?

Bioprime contains a wide range of components, including diverse soil signalling molecules. Some components, “quorum quenchers”, act to suppress harmful bacterial consortia. Some components act as soil priming agents and “quorum sensors”, stimulating microbial groups known to be beneficial to plant roots. Some components are identical to the organic acids and phenolics that plant roots secrete to attract beneficial microbes. Other components are precursors to plant steroids.

When applied to soil, Bioprime changes microbial communities. In trials, it has:

    • Increased species diversity within Actinobacteria (known disease-suppressors)
    • Changed species diversity within Gamma Proteobacteria
    • Shifted the composition of the Dikaryotic fungal community
    • Made non-wetting soils productive
    • Dramatically improved native plant establishment in rehabilitation projects
    • Improved soil health for a more productive system with increased yields.


Bioprime produces a healthier soil with greater diversity of beneficial microbes and a reduction in pathogens. Most importantly for grain growers, only small volumes are required (2-4L per hectare) to produce changes, so it is inexpensive.


How do we know it works?

Bioprime has a 20 year history of use in intensive horticulture for disease suppression. Despite at the time having a lack of knowledge of how it worked, leading growers continued purchasing Bioprime and stayed disease free.

To further develop Bioprime, four years of intensive DNA-based investigations on broad acre soils were conducted. Molecular biology showed us how microbial group diversity shifted after application. An R&D focus on fermentation technology increased levels of active ingredients for lower production costs. Pot trials led to small field trials, larger field trials, and then on-farm trials. Work is ongoing, especially finding optimal timing and application rates to give the best returns to our growers.


Field Trials

Bioscience works hand-in-hand with Australian farmers and producers to develop our specialist products and services. Our Australia-wide trials help to further our research and knowledge and ensure the Australian agricultural industry remains a world leader.

Contact us for more information or to participate in our next R&D trials.