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BIO Fertilizers a Boon for Soil Health

BIO Fertilizers a Boon for Soil Health

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Published by Dr. MANOJ SHARMA

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Published by: Dr. MANOJ SHARMA on Jul 18, 2010
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Simerjeet Kaur*, Rajan Bhatt, Gurdeep Singh and Manoj SharmaKrishi Vigyan Kendra, Kapurthala
Fertilizer is one of the major contributors to increased crop production but thecontinuous and imbalanced use of chemical fertilizer is causing unsustainable environmentalpenalties like soil health deterioration, contamination of surface water, nitrate pollution of ground water and atmospheric pollution etc. The problems like leaching, volatilization,de-nitrification of nitrogen and deposition of non-available phosphorus in soils are also dueto more use of chemical fertilizers. Fertilizer use efficiency in India is 30-50 % for Nitrogen,15-20% for Phosphorus and 70-80 % for Potassium. Above all, the production of inorganicfertilizers is energy intensive, depending upon fossil fuel and hence becoming costly day byday. To cope with the above situation, Indian agricultural scientists are constantly stressingupon the use of bio-fertilizers. During 2001-2002, the production and distribution of bio-fertilizers in the country was roughly 10,000 metric tones, where the production of 
Rhizobium, Azotobactor, Azospirillum, Acetobactor 
and PSB were 1603, 1553, 1258, 166and 4088 metric tones, respectively. Among the other bio-fertilizers, compost acceleratorslike cellulose/ lignin decomposers have got considerable importance.
Bio-fertilizers are living microorganisms, which contribute nutrients to plants throughmicrobial activity. These microbial culture fix atmospheric nitrogen, solublize both native andapplied sparingly soluble Phosphate to increase soil fertility. In addition to these, plantsincrease the surface area of the root system for better absorption of nutrients. Fungi,bacteria and actinomycetes have the ability to accelerate the process of composting toimprove soil fertility and hence plant growth. ________________________________________________________________________ * Assistant Professor ( Agronomy) Department of Agronomy, PAU.,Ludhiana
Benefits of Bio-fertilizers:
Enrich soil with nitrogen by biological nitrogen fixation.
Increase crop yield by 15-20 %.
Increase germination potential of seeds.
Develops resistance against disease in crops, suppress soil borne diseases as some of the inoculants produce antibiotics.
Improves soil properties and sustain soil fertility.
Help in mineralization of plant nutrients, solublize unavailable phosphate and sulfur in thesoil converting them in available form.
Bio-fertilizers release certain hormones, which increase crop growth.
Save fertilizer consumption by nearly 15%.
Bio-fertilizers are cheap, handy, eco-friendly, pollution free and easy to transport.
se of Bio-fertilizers in commercial crops:
1. Rhizobium All Leguminous crops2. Azotobacter Food crops Wheat, Barley, Maize, Oat and PaddyOil seeds Mustard, Sunflower, Linseed, Cotton and CoconutVegetables Potato, Onion, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Okra, Brinjal, Tomato, Chilly etc.Flowers Dahlia, Chrysanthemum, Marigold, Rose, Gladiolus, Tuberose etc.Fruits Mango, Guava, Banana, Papaya, Grapes, Mulberry, Cashew nut, Tea, Coffee,Citrus, Apple, Litchi.Forest All forest plants3. Azospirillum Fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, coffee, tea etc.4. PSB For all crops5. BGA Paddy6. Azolla Paddy
Types of Biofertilizers:
Mainly there are two types of bio-fertilizers: A. N-fixing bio-fertilizers
Symbiotic N-fixing bio-fertilizers e.g.
Rhizobium, Actinomycetes
b. Non-symbiotic N-fixing bio-fertilizers e.g.
 Azotobacter, Azospirillum
, Blue green algaeand
 B. P-mobilizing bio-fertilizersa. P-solubilizing bio-fertilizers e.g.
Bacillus, Pseudomonas
, Fungib. P-absorbing bio-fertilizers e.g. VAM
1. Rhizobium:
is the oldest and most widely used bio-fertilizer.
has thecapacity to fix nitrogen in leguminous crops. Leguminous crops have nodules in their rootswhere
fixes atmospheric nitrogen with the help of nitrogenase enzyme. Number and size of nodules directly affect the amount of nitrogen fixed by
Different cropsrequire different species of 
Rhizobia. Rhizobium
can fix 50-200 Kg Nitrogen/hectare inleguminous crops, which helps in saving nitrogen requirement for next crop.
Rhizobium species suitable for different crops:
Rhizobium Sp. Name of the Crop
R. leguminosarum
Peas (
Pisum sp.
Lathyrus sp.
Vicia sp.
, lentil (
Lens sp.
R. Tripoli 
Berseem (
Trifolium sp.
)R. phaseoli Kidney bean (
Phaseolus sp.
R. lupini Lupinus, OrnithopusR. japonicum
Soybean (
Glycine sp.
R. meliloti 
Melilotus, Lucerne (
), Fenugreek (
)Cowpea miscellany Cowpea, Clusterbean, Green Gram, Black Gram, Red Gram,Groundnut, Mothbean, Dhaincha, Sunhemp, Glyricidia, Acacia,Prosopis, Dalbergia , Albizzia, Indigofera, Tephrosia, Atylosia, Stylo.

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