Unej Researcher Creates Indonesia's First Nematode Parasite Control Biological Fertilizer

Researchers at the University of Jember (Unej) led by Iis Nur Asyiah managed to find the first biofertilizer and nematode controller in Indonesia. The fertilizer, named BRE-4, in addition to successfully controlling parasitic nematodes on plants, has succeeded in fertilizing plants and even increasing plant productivity.

This success was seen at the time of harvesting the rice fertilized using BRE-4 in the fields that became the research demonstration plot in Ringinharjo Village, Kapanewon Bantul, Bantul Regency. In the 1,000-square-meter rice field that has been sprayed with BRE-4, the yellow rice is ready to be harvested, while the rice in the adjacent rice field is not ready to harvest.

In fact, rice sprayed with BRE-4 is planted a week later, meaning that rice sprayed with BRE-4 can be harvested earlier than rice without treatment. From the observations of the research team, rice grains or rice panicles from rice plants that were sprayed with BRE-4 were more, on average there were 27 grains of rice compared to untreated rice which only had 12 to 15 grains of rice. Most importantly, 90 percent of the parasitic nematodes that were in the rice roots were lost.

Iis explained that BRE-4 was developed in 2010. Initially it was developed to control nematodes, which are plant-disturbing organisms that attack various cultivated plants. If the nematodes have invaded the plant, they usually appear pimple-like granules on the roots.

Plants that are attacked by nematodes will decrease their productivity and eventually die. Nematodes attack rice plants, horticultural crops, such as tomatoes and vegetables to plantation crops such as coffee.

“We explored rhizobacteria and endophytic bacteria that have the ability to control parasitic nematodes in plants. From this research, several bacterial isolates were obtained, four of which have the potential to overcome nematodes because they have advantages over the others," explained Iis as quoted from the unej.ac.id page, Tuesday, October 18, 2022.

The four bacterial isolates were then identified as Bacillus sp. and Pseudomonas sp. Therefore, the composition that is formulated is called BRE-4, from the words Rhizo Bacteria and Endophytes. And because the number is four, then add the number 4.

This lecturer at the Biology Education Study Program at the Faculty of Medicine, together with a team consisting of Lenny Widjayanthi and A Pandu Pradana from the Faculty of Agriculture, then tried BRE-4 on horticultural crops, such as chicory, tomatoes and chilies, while for plantation crops, they tried Arabica and robusta coffee.

Apparently, BRE-4 was successful in overcoming the parasitic nematodes in some of the cultivated plants. In fact, the use of BRE-4 has been recommended by the Center for Coffee and Cocoa Research, which is also a research partner with CV Tiga Kreasi Bersama.

In its journey, BRE-4 was not only overcome the attack of parasitic nematodes on plants. However, it also improves soil conditions thereby increasing crop productivity.

Farmers from Ringinharjo Village, Kapanewon Bantul, Bantul Regency, Bandiyono, use BRE-4 to plant rice in an area of 1,000 square meters. After the land was plowed, Bandi, as he was known, sprayed 10 liters of BRE-4.

After being left for two days, then the rice seeds are planted. The remaining liquid fertilizer BRE-4 was sprayed again twice when the rice reached two weeks of age and four weeks of planting.

"Alhamdulillah, 90 percent of the grains in the rice roots due to nematode attacks are gone. In fact, the number of grains of rice in each stem is more, reaching an average of 27 grains. The age of rice harvest which usually reaches 90 days is now getting shorter because it can be harvested at the age of 80 days," he said.

The use of BRE-4 liquid fertilizer also makes farmers save up to 50 percent of chemical fertilizers such as urea fertilizer. In fact, one use of BRE-4 fertilizer can last up to two more rice planting periods.

Bandi who from the harvest that day got 8 quintals of rice, 50 kilograms more than the harvest without the use of BRE-4.

The biofertilizer as well as nematode control BRE-4 has passed the quality test from the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture and is currently waiting for a distribution permit and efficacy test which is scheduled to be issued in November 2022. Research and development of BRE-4 is also supported by many parties, as evidenced by financial support from Productive Innovative Research Program (RISPRO) LPDP Ministry of Finance RI.

The research area has also expanded to several locations, such as research on the use of BRE-4 on horticultural crops in Batu City. The use of BRE-4 in chili plants in Jember and Trakan, coffee in Bondowoso, and shallots in Madura Island. All to ensure that BRE-4 is effective and efficient for a variety of crops.

The success of BRE-4 was welcomed by many parties, as stated by the Village Head of Ringinharjo, Sulistyo. According to him, BRE-4 liquid fertilizer can be an alternative to overcome the scarcity of fertilizer suffered by farmers in the region.

Praise also came from the Head of the Institute for Research and Community Service (LP2M) and the Chancellor of the University of Jember who also attended the harvesting activities in Bantul. The chairman of LP2M Yuli Witono hopes that the success of Iis Nur Aisyah and his friends will spur other lecturers to continue researching and innovating whose results can be felt by the wider community.

Unej Chancellor Iwan Taruna said that his party was encouraging more research through the formation of research groups and research grants that could be utilized by researchers. The results of the research are then downstreamed so that the benefits can be felt by institutions, researchers and even more so for the wider community.

“Salute to Mrs. Iis and friends, hopefully other colleagues will follow. The innovation of Mrs. Iis and her friends is a gift for the 58th Anniversary of the University of Jember, "said Iwan.

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