Inoculant quality is determined by the effectiveness of the strain of rhizobia to ‘fix' nitrogen and the number of live rhizobia. AIRG currently assesses selected submitted batches produced by Australian and overseas manufacturers for both of these criteria. Each year, several hundred batches of peat inoculants are tested.
Under the Code of Practice and use of the ‘green tick logo’ each batch of inoculant is assessed to ensure that inoculants released for sale have:
Only when these standards have been met, is the batch approved by AIRG for sale, with an expiry date.
‘Green tick’ logo inoculants have labelling standards that require information indicating:
Each year, AIRG supplies a fresh set of recommended inoculant strains for temperate and tropical legumes to the inoculant manufacturers. They then produce commercial inoculants from these cultures. These strains must meet stringent criteria before being released by AIRG.
AIRG also holds and distributes a limited number of non-rhizobial cultures used in commercial manufacture.
AIRG holds more than 1,700 strains of rhizobia in its collection which are maintained as a germplasm bank for legumes that as yet have no recommended inoculant strain.
Problems sometimes occur causing low numbers of viable rhizobia in the peat-based inoculants, e.g. elevated saline concentration in peat, or loss of N-fixing effectiveness of the rhizobia itself, e.g. strain variation. AIRG plays an active role in finding solutions to such problems.