Biofertilizers – an innovative tool for agriculture
With the introduction of green revolution technologies, the modern agriculture is getting more and more dependent upon the steady supply of synthetic inputs. Intensive agriculture with the use of chemical fertilizers in large amount has resulted in manifold increase in the productivity of farm commodities but the adverse effect of these chemicals are clearly visible on soil structure, micro flora, quality of water, food and fodder. At this critical juncture, biofertilizers are useful supplement to chemical fertilizers.
Bio fertilizers are natural and organic fertilizer that helps to keep in the soil with all the nutrients and live microorganisms required for the benefits of the plants. It’s used in organic farming, sustainable agriculture, green farming and non pollution farming. It is also one of the important components of integrated nutrient management, as they are cost effective and renewable source of plant nutrients to supplement the chemical fertilizers for sustainable agriculture.
The aim of biofertilizers is to complement and, where appropriate, replace conventional chemical fertilizers so that their use can be reduced with the resulting economic and environmental benefits.
Biofertilizer contains living microorganisms which, when applied to soil, colonizes the rhizosphere or the interior of the plant and promotes growth by increasing the availability of primary nutrients to the host plant. They encourage plants to absorb, on their own, a greater quantity of nutrients which, even if they are naturally present in the soil, on occasions cannot be assimilated by plants because they are in an insoluble form. Conventional chemical fertilizers, however, supply the soil with chemical elements which, despite functioning as a fertilizer, can end up contaminating aquifers if they are not managed in the right dose and at the right moment.
Types of Biofertilizers
The various types of biofertilizers which help the plant to grow at different levels of its growth are:
- Nitrogen fixing biofertilizers (Azotobacter, Nostoc, Rhizobium, Azospirillum) increase soil nitrogen level ii. Fixes the atmospheric nitrogen in the soil and make it available to the plants
- Phosphorous solubilizing biofertilizers (Species of Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Penicillium, Aspergillus) solubilize the insoluble phosphate from organic and inorganic phosphate sources, releases insoluble phosphorus in soil and fix in clay minerals, secrete organic acids and lower the pH to dissolve bound phosphates in soil
- Phosphorus mobilizing biofertilizers (Arbuscular Mycorrhiza, AM fungi) fungus penetrates the cortical cells of the roots, increase surface area of roots, displace of absorption equilibrium of phosphate ions which increases the transfer of P ions, stimulate metabolic processes, Arbuscles absorb these nutrients into the root system
- Biofertilizers for micro-nutrients (Bacillus sp.) bacterial species are Silicate and Zinc solubilizers, degrade silicates and aluminium silicates in soil, help in silicate weathering
- Plant growth promoting Rhizobacteria ( Pseudomonas sp., Bacillus sp.) act as both biofertilizer and biopesticides, promote growth by improved nutrient availability (biofertilizers), suppression of plant disease (bioprotectants), phytohormones production (biostimulants)
- Compost (Cellulolytic fungi, Azotobacter) utilize animal dung to enrich soil with microorganisms, eco-friendly organic fertilizer, consists of nitrogen, phosphate solubilizing bacteria and various decomposing fungi, microorganisms breaks down organic matter (dead plants, farm yard waste, cattle waste)
Liquid biofertilizers are suspensions having agriculturally useful microorganisms, which fix atmospheric nitrogen and solubilize insoluble phosphates and make it available for the plant. It reduces the use of chemical fertilizer by 15-40%, has long shelf life, and it’s easy to produce and apply. Also it helps to produce and manage organic crops so as to compete in the global market.
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