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Use of Microbes in Agriculture There are many applications of microbes in agricultural activity.

Microbes consist of fungi, bacteria and viruses. Farmers and cultivators often consider microbes as pests that are dangerous to their crops or animals, but many microbes are useful. Soil microbes such as bacteria and fungi are important for decomposing organic matter and recycling old plant material. Some soil bacteria and fungi form relationships with plant roots that provide important nutrients like nitrogen or phosphorus. Fungi can take over upper parts of plants and provide many benefits, including drought tolerance, heat tolerance, resistance to insects, and resistance to plant diseases. There are many beneficial influences of microorganisms on plant growth include nitrogen fixation, acquisition and uptake of major nutrients, promotion of shoot and root growth, disease control or suppression and improved soil structure. Some of the commonly promoted and used beneficial microorganisms in agriculture worldwide include Rhizobia, Mycorrhizae, Azospirillum, Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Trichoderma, Streptomyces species and many more. Compost as fertilizer To make crops and vegetables grow well, the soil needs to be rich in nutrients and water. That's because plants get nutrients and water for growth from the soil through their roots. Healthy soil is formed of clods. Air and water flow between them. The texture of the soil is soft. Many good bacteria are present and active in the soil. They suppress harmful bacteria that cause plants to develop diseases. Compost rich soil carries a lot of air and water so that the roots can grow easily. And, since the soil is soft, it is easier to plough. 1. Physical Improvement of Soil In the process of making compost, the high temperature destroys (1) seeds of weeds, (2) eggs of pests/insects,

(3) pathogenic bacteria. Crops raised with compost are strong and resistant to disease, so it is not necessary to use much agricultural chemical." 2. Fertilizer Compost enhances the interaction of bacteria in the soil, thus nourishing it. The resulting compost-rich soil will be balanced and suitable for growing rice and vegetables Composting is a technique used to accelerate the natural decay process. There are many methods of making compost. The method that I would like to describe here is Indore method. The basis of the heap should consist of twigs and cane shoots. The following successive layers are piled on top of this: - a layer of about 10 cm tough organic material which is difficult to decompose - a layer of about 10 cm fresh organic material which decomposes easily - a layer of 2 cm animal manure, compost or slurry from a biogas tank. - a thin layer of soil where the soil should be collected come from the top layer (top 10 cm) of clean (moist) soil (e.g. from under trees). This ensures that the right microorganisms are brought into the heap. This sequence of layers is repeated until the heap has reached a final height of 1.5 to 2 meters. In this way the heap is composed of many layers. Building the heap should be done quickly, preferably within a week. The heap should be turned over regularly to provide well aeration. Indore Method takes 3 months, but under unfavorable conditions it may take longer than 6 months. Microorganism such as bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi and protozoa are the causes of composting.

Bioremediation Techniques The basic principle of bioremediation is to enhance microbes capable of degrading the target compounds through physical means (mixing and aeration) and chemical means (addition of mineral nutrients). The microbes to be used in bioremediation process may be indigenous or external. In the case of soil biotreatment, the mechanism may follow two paths. First, the excavation and treatment requires replacing the soil into the treatment area where mineral nutrients and external organisms may be added to the soil followed by missing to assure distribution throughout the soil. Periodic mixing and addition of more nutrients and/or organisms serve to achieve homogeneity and the aeration of the soil. This scenario is often referred to as land farming, where microbes are in a sense being farmed, or tilled in to facilitate the degradation of the contaminating material. Second, the soil treatment method, in situ, refers to the treating of the contaminated soil without removing it. Here mineral nutrients and organisms are added into the ground through wells, infiltration galleries or other means to allow the organisms to degrade the contaminating material where it is found.

References 1. Madeleine Inckel, Peter de Smet, Tim Tersmette and Tom Veldkamp. The preparation and use of compost. Agrodok 8. 90-8573-006-6 ,2005. 2. Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin. Using Homemade Compost as Fertilizer. April 10, 2012. (