Regular use of chitosan increases plant vigor as well as disease resistance while reducing the effects of abiotic stressors, explains Debbie Boynton of Great Northern Products. “The multi-functionality is amazing to understand: studies show chitosan also reduces transpiration and functions as a SAR elicitor, which are extremely desirable traits in crop production. Moreover, we are reducing shell waste from the seafood industry, as chitosan is extracted from the shells of shrimp, crab, and lobster. We are returning to the land that was taken from the sea while greatly benefiting plant production and, in some cases, improving soil conditions.”
Trichome Mania chitosan is distributed by Great Northern Products, a company that ships and distributes all kinds of shellfish and seafood globally. Years ago, the company realized that there might be something useful they could do with the shell waste ending up at a landfill. The purpose of the Trichome Mania products was twofold: a new business endeavor that benefits the agricultural and horticultural industries and a way for the company to contribute to more sustainable practices.
Now, the company is working with different fertilizer companies and agronomists to bring focus to this agricultural asset and to begin building strategic partnerships based on the inclusion of chitosan in their products. “Chitosan is an excellent agricultural resource for the harsh growing conditions we face. Recently, there have been drought conditions and high temperatures in many areas. Moreover, there are soil problems because of the over-application of fertilizers, pesticides, and fungicides over decades of time. The crops in this unbalanced soil will be less susceptible to disease and grow more vigorously in adverse conditions when treated with chitosan.”
Tricking the plant
Interestingly, chitin is also found in the exoskeletons of predatory and crop-destroying insects. Boynton explains that that is why the plants assume they are under attack when they are treated with chitosan. As a result, the plants want to protect themselves. “Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR) is activated, and the plant begins to flood with phytochemicals to fight a perceived threat. Once SAR is activated and there is no attack, the plant can then use the cascade of triggered plant hormones to grow and strengthen itself. Roots, trichomes, and terpene production may all increase as a result. Moreover, the increased resistance to fungi, pathogens, and pests is super valuable to cultivators.”
Currently, Trichome Mania is working with several nutrient companies that will be formulating with their chitosan. They are also actively looking for American partners to distribute to. “It is unfortunate that chitosan is still underutilized in the industry. There is an endless array of products for farmers and agronomists to choose from and many of them are not as natural or restorative as chitosan. We hope to shine a light on this available resource.”
For more information: