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Different Types of Bio Fertilisers

Different Types of Bio Fertilisers

Biofertilizers are defined as preparations containing living cells or latent cells of efficient strains of microorganisms that help crop plants’ uptake of nutrients by their interactions in the rhizosphere when applied through seed or soil.  They accelerate certain microbial processes in the soil which augment the extent of availability of nutrients in a form easily assimilated by plants.
Very often microorganisms are not as efficient in natural surroundings as one would expect them to be and therefore artificially multiplied cultures of efficient selected microorganisms play a vital role in accelerating the microbial processes in soil.
Use of biofertilizers is 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. Several microorganisms and their association with crop plants are being exploited in the production of biofertilizers. They can be grouped in different ways based on their nature and function.
S. No.GroupsExamples
N2  fixing Biofertilizers
1.Free-livingAzotobacter, Beijerinkia, Clostridium, Klebsiella, Anabaena, Nostoc, 
2.SymbioticRhizobium, Frankia, Anabaena azollae
3.Associative SymbioticAzospirillum
P Solubilizing Biofertilizers
1.BacteriaBacillus megaterium var. phosphaticum, Bacillus subtilis
Bacillus circulans, Pseudomonas striata
2.FungiPenicillium sp, Aspergillus awamori
P Mobilizing Biofertilizers
1.Arbuscular mycorrhizaGlomus sp.,Gigaspora sp.,Acaulospora sp.,
Scutellospora sp. Sclerocystis sp.
2.EctomycorrhizaLaccaria sp., Pisolithus sp.Boletus sp.Amanita sp.
3.Ericoid mycorrhizaePezizella ericae
4.Orchid mycorrhizaRhizoctonia solani
Biofertilizers for Micro nutrients
1.Silicate and Zinc solubilizersBacillus sp.
Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria
1.PseudomonasPseudomonas fluorescens

2. Different types of biofertilizers

Rhizobium is a soil habitat bacterium, which can able to colonize the legume roots and fixes the atmospheric nitrogen symbiotically. The morphology and physiology of Rhizobium will vary from free-living condition to the bacteroid of nodules. They are the most efficient biofertilizer as per the quantity of nitrogen fixed concerned. They have seven genera and highly specific to form nodule in legumes, referred as cross inoculation group. 
Rhizobium inoculant was first made in USA and commercialized by private enterprise in 1930s and the strange situation at that time has been chronicled by Fred (1932).
Initially, due to absence of efficient bradyrhizobial strains in soil, soybean inoculation at that time resulted in bumper crops but incessant inoculation during the last four decades by US farmers has resulted in the build up of a plethora of inefficient strains in soil whose replacement by efficient strains of bradyrhizobia has become an insurmountable problem.

Of the several species of AzotobacterA. chroococcum happens to be the dominant inhabitant in arable soils capable of fixing N2 (2-15 mg N2 fixed /g of carbon source) in culture media.
The bacterium produces abundant slime which helps in soil aggregation. The numbers of A. chroococcum in Indian soils rarely exceeds 105/g soil due to lack of organic matter and the presence of antagonistic microorganisms in soil.

Azospirillum lipoferum and A. brasilense (Spirillum lipoferum in earlier literature) are primary inhabitants of soil, the rhizosphere and intercellular spaces of root cortex of graminaceous plants. They perform the associative symbiotic relation with the graminaceous plants. 
The bacteria of Genus Azospirillum are  N2 fixing organisms isolated from the root and above ground parts of a variety of crop plants. They are Gram negative, Vibrio or Spirillum having abundant accumulation of polybetahydroxybutyrate (70 %) in cytoplasm. 
Five species of Azospirillum have been described to date A. brasilenseA.lipoferumA.amazonenseA.halopraeferens and A.irakense.  The organism proliferates under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions but it is preferentially micro-aerophilic in the presence or absence of combined nitrogen in the medium.
Apart from nitrogen fixation, growth promoting substance production (IAA), disease resistance and drought tolerance are some of the additional benefits due to Azospirillum inoculation.

Both free-living as well as symbiotic cyanobacteria (blue green algae) have been harnessed in rice cultivation in India. A composite culture of BGA having heterocystous NostocAnabaenaAulosira etc. is given as primary inoculum in trays, polythene lined pots and later mass multiplied in the field for application as soil based flakes to the rice growing field at the rate of 10 kg/ha. The final product is not free from extraneous contaminants and not very often monitored for checking the presence of desiredalgal flora.
Once so much publicized as a biofertilizer for the rice crop, it has not presently attracted the attention of rice growers all over India except pockets in the Southern States, notably Tamil Nadu. The benefits due to algalization could be to the extent of 20-30 kg N/ha under ideal conditions but the labour oriented methodology for the preparation of BGA biofertilizer is in itself a limitation. Quality control measures are not usually followed except perhaps for random checking for the presence of desired species qualitatively.
Azolla is a free-floating water fern that floats in water and fixes atmospheric nitrogen in association with nitrogen fixing blue green alga Anabaena azollaeAzolla fronds consist of sporophyte with a floating rhizome and small overlapping bi-lobed leaves and roots. Rice growing areas in South East Asia and other third World countries have recently been evincing increased interest in the use of the symbiotic N2 fixing water fern Azolla either as an alternate nitrogen sources or as a supplement to commercial nitrogen fertilizers. Azolla is used as biofertilizer for wetland rice and it is known to contribute 40-60 kg N/ha per rice crop.
Phosphate solubilizing microorganisms(PSM)
Several soil bacteria and fungi, notably species of Pseudomonas, Bacillus, Penicillium, Aspergillus etc. secrete organic acids and lower the pH in their vicinity to bring about dissolution of bound phosphates in soil. Increased yields of wheat and potato were demonstrated due to inoculation of peat based cultures of Bacillus polymyxa and Pseudomonas striata. Currently, phosphate solubilizers are manufactured by agricultural universities and some private enterprises and sold to farmers through governmental agencies. These appear to be no check on either the quality of the inoculants marketed in India or the establishment of the desired organisms in the rhizosphere.
AM fungi
The transfer of nutrients mainly phosphorus and also zinc and sulphur from the soil milleu to the cells of the root cortex is mediated by intracellular obligate fungal endosymbionts of the genera Glomus, Gigaspora, Acaulospora, Sclerocysts and Endogone which possess vesicles for storage of nutrients and arbuscles for funneling these nutrients into the root system. By far, the commonest genus appears to be Glomus, which has several species distributed in soil.
Availability for pure cultures of AM (Arbuscular Mycorrhiza) fungi is an impediment in large scale production despite the fact that beneficial effects of AM fungal inoculation to plants have been repeatedly shown under experimental conditions in the laboratory especially in conjunction with other nitrogen fixers.
Silicate solubilizing bacteria (SSB)
Microorganisms are capable of degrading silicates and aluminum silicates. During the metabolism of microbes several organic acids are produced and these have a dual role in silicate weathering. They supply H+ ions to the medium and promote hydrolysis and the organic acids like citric, oxalic acid, Keto acids and hydroxy carbolic acids which from complexes with cations, promote their removal and retention in the medium in a dissolved state.
The studies conducted with a Bacillus sp. isolated from the soil of granite crusher yard showed that the bacterium is capable of dissolving several silicate minerals under in vitrocondition. The examination of anthrpogenic materials like cement, agro inputs like super phosphate and rock phosphate exhibited silicate solubilizing bacteria to a varying degree. The bacterial isolates made from different locations had varying degree of silicate solubilizing potential. Soil inoculation studies with selected isolate with red soil, clay soil, sand and hilly soil showed that the organisms multiplied in all types of soil and released more of silica and the available silica increased in soil and water. Rice responded well to application of organic sliceous residue like rice straw, rice husk and black ash @ 5 t/ha. Combining SSB with these residues further resulted in increased plant growth and grain yield. This enhancement is due to increased dissolution of silica and nutrients from the soil.
Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR)
The group of bacteria that colonize roots or rhizosphere soil and beneficial to crops are referred to as plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR).
The PGPR inoculants currently commercialized that seem to promote growth through at least one mechanism; suppression of plant disease (termed Bioprotectants), improved nutrient acquisition (termed Biofertilizers), or phytohormone production (termed Biostimulants). Species of Pseudomonas and Bacillus can produce as yet not well characterized phytohormones or growth regulators that cause crops to have greater amounts of fine roots which have the effect of increasing the absorptive surface of plant roots for uptake of water and nutrients. These PGPR are referred to as Biostimulants and the phytohormones they produce include indole-acetic acid, cytokinins, gibberellins and inhibitors of ethylene production.
Recent advances in molecular techniques also are encouraging in that tools are becoming available to determine the mechanism by which crop performance is improved using PGPR and track survival and activity of PGPR organisms in soil and roots. The science of PGPR is at the stage where genetically modified PGPR can be produced. PGPR with antibiotic, phytohormone and siderophore production can be made.
Despite of promising results, biofertilizers has not got widespread application in agriculture mainly because of the variable response of plant species or genotypes to inoculation depending on the bacterial strain used. Differential rhizosphere effect of crops in harbouring a target strain or even the modulation of the bacterial nitrogen fixing and phosphate solubilizing capacity by specific root exudates may account for the observed differences. On the other hand, good competitive ability and high saprophytic competence are the major factors determining the success of a bacterial strain as an inoculant.
Studies to know the synergistic activities and persistence of specific microbial populations in complex environments, such as the rhizosphere, should be addressed in order to obtain efficient inoculants. In this regards, research efforts are made at Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai to obtain appropriate formulations of microbial inoculants incorporating nitrogen fixing, phosphate- and silicate- solubilizing bacteria and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria which will help in promoting the use of such beneficial bacteria in sustainable agriculture.
Liquid Biofertilizers
Biofertilizers are such as Rhizobium, Azospirillum and Phosphobacteria  provide nitrogen  and phosphorous nutrients to crop plants through nitrogen fixation and phosphorous solubilization processes. These Biofertilizers could be effectively utilized for rice, pulses, millets, cotton, sugarcane, vegetable and other horticulture crops.
Biofertilizers  is one of the prime input in organic farming not only enhances the crop growth and yield but also improves the soil health and sustain soil fertility.
At  present, Biofertilizers  are supplied to the farmers as carrier based  inoculants. As an alternative, liquid formulation technology has been developed in the Department of Agricultural  Microbiology, TNAU, Coimbatore which has more advantages than the carrier inoculants.
The advantages of Liquid Bio-fertilizer over conventional carrier based Bio-fertilizers are listed below:
  • Longer shelf life -12-24 months.
  • No contamination.
  • No loss of properties due to storage upto 45ยบ c.
  • Greater potentials to fight with native population.
  • High populations can be maintained more than 109 cells/ml upto 12 months to 24 months.
  • Easy identification by typical fermented smell.
  • Cost saving on carrier material, pulverization, neutralization, sterilization, packing and transport.
  • Quality control protocols are easy and quick.
  • Better survival on seeds and soil.
  • No need of running Bio-fertilizer production units through out the year.
  • Very much easy to use by the farmer.
  • Dosages is 10 time less than carrier based powder Bio-fertilizers.
  • High commercial revenues.
  • High export potential.
  • Very high enzymatic activity since contamination is nil.

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