The Benefits of Chitin for Healthy Plants
Posted on September 14 2020
Chitin might be the ingredient behind most crustacean meals available for soil health and plant resilience.
However, you will find overrated sentiments about chitin or crustacean meals. Also, not all brands that offer fertilizer containing chitin are reliable.
The best crustacean meals suit farmers seeking organic fertilizer options. They feature extra ingredients, besides chitin, to balance soil pH, stimulate soil microbes and microbial communities, protect from diseases and more.
Here's a brief overview of the key benefits of chitin for plant health and how it's related to crustacean meals.
What is Chitin?
Chitin is common in fungi cell walls, crustacean and insect skeletons and fish scales, among other places.
It is the second most abundant polysaccharide, after cellulose, and rich in nitrogen, calcium, magnesium and other vital minerals required for healthy microbial activity.
When released in the soil, chitin increases the availability of nitrogen to soil microbes and plants.
How Does Chitin Benefit Plant Health?
Chitin, which occurs abundantly in arthropods' exoskeletons, is ground and tilled with soil, where it releases back nitrogen.
Soil-forming earthworms and other soil microbes can pass the nitrogen to plants, which use it to form chlorophyll.
Plants require chlorophyll to use sunlight energy. The other mineral and elements are also vital for various aspects of plant health, including flowering, root health and resilience.
In crustacean meals, chitin is part of a formula with other essential plant nutrients.
What Are the Sources of Chitin?
The source for chitin found in crustacean meals is, of course, crustacean (crabs, lobsters, shrimp, crayfish, barnacles, krill, etc.).
Crab and shrimp shells make the majority of commercial chitin. However, chitin occurs naturally in several other places, including the exoskeletons of mollusks, insects and some fungi.
Are All Sources of Chitin the Same?
Chitin is sometimes referred to as animal fiber and like most sources, not all produce the same quality. Crustacean meals feature chitin from different sources, including crabs, shrimps and lobster.
These three provide the best sources as they are rich in nitrogen and calcium, two vital nutrients for soil health. They are also readily available in large quantities.
How Does Crustacean Meal Benefit Plant Health Because Of Chitin?
Not all crustacean meals are the same, so it is always important to review the brand before purchasing organic fertilizer.
Essentially, the best crustacean meal enriches your garden beds with nitrogen and other vital nutrients, boosting plant growth.
Your plants need nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and several other nutrients to flourish and grow to their full potential.
Besides the high mineral content, a slow-releasing process will fend off most ringworm. The increased presence of crustacean meal can promote soil microbial communities while fighting root diseases and putting off pests, including snails.
Keeping pests and diseases is crucial for healthy plants. Crustacean meals also provide ideal habitat for soil microbes that produce enzymes known to digest root nematodes.
There are various things to review when purchasing crustacean meals for your beds and farms. Existing offers feature varying ingredients and amounts of chitin or other soil and plant nutrients.
One premium example is our Crustacean Meal 4-0-0, enriched with organic chitin from crabs and shrimp. It also includes food for soil micro-organisms and helps to fight root rot, blight and powdery mildew.
This soil food features extra fortification to improve soil health and stimulate microbial communities that live in the soil. It provides vital minerals for robust plant growth and resilience.
You can purchase our Crustacean Meal 4-0-0 today or contact customer support to find out more about our organic solutions for soil and plant health.