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Bio Fertilizers

Biofertilizers

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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.

Groups

Examples

N2  fixing Biofertilizers

1.

Free-living

Azotobacter, Beijerinkia, Clostridium, Klebsiella, Anabaena, Nostoc,

2.

Symbiotic

Rhizobium, Frankia, Anabaena azollae

3.

Associative Symbiotic

Azospirillum

P Solubilizing Biofertilizers

1.

Bacteria

Bacillus megaterium var. phosphaticum, Bacillus subtilis
Bacillus circulans, Pseudomonas striata

2.

Fungi

Penicillium sp, Aspergillus awamori

P Mobilizing Biofertilizers

1.

Arbuscular mycorrhiza

Glomus sp.,Gigaspora sp.,Acaulospora sp.
Scutellospora sp. Sclerocystis sp.

2.

Ectomycorrhiza

Laccaria sp., Pisolithus sp.Boletus sp.Amanita sp.

3.

Ericoid mycorrhizae

Pezizella ericae

4.

Orchid mycorrhiza

Rhizoctonia solani

Biofertilizers for Micro nutrients

1.

Silicate and Zinc solubilizers

Bacillus sp.

Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria

1.

Pseudomonas

Pseudomonas fluorescens


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Bio Fertilizers

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The use of biofertilisers is quite important while practicing the concepts of integrated plant nutrient management and organic farming. Some of the commonly used biofertilisers in Kerala are as follows.

1. Rhizobium (Bradyrhizobium and Azorhizobium)

It induces better root nodulation and stem nodulation (Azorhizobium) in inoculated plants and thereby brings down the requirement of nitrogen fertilizer for the cultivation of pulses, oil seeds and legume green manures. Commercially it is available as carrier based inoculums. Method of application is seed treatment.

2. Azotobacter

Suitable only for upland crops like vegetables, tapioca, plantation and orchard crops. It is available as carrier-based inoculum. It fixes N about 15-20 kg/ha under ideal upland conditions and thereby reduces the requirement of nitrogen fertilizers by 10-20 per cent. Methods of application are seed treatment, seedling dip and direct soil application.

3. Azospirillum

It is suitable for both upland and wetland conditions and is available as carrier-based inoculum. It fixes N about 20-25 kg per ha under ideal conditions thereby effecting a reduction of 25 per cent in the quantity of N fertilizers required. Treatment with Azospirillum also induces better root formation in inoculated plants. Hence this biofertilizer is also recommended for root induction in polybag-raised seedlings of plantation and orchard crops and also for vegetable crops. The isolates of Azospirillum brasilense strains AZR 15 and AZR 37 from Kuttanad soils are highly effective for rice, vegetables and nursery plants. The strains AZ 1 and AZ 2 are effective in vegetable and nursery plants.

Method of application

Seed treatment: For treating 5-10 kg seeds, 500 g culture is required. Moisten the seeds by sprinkling water or rice-gruel water. Take 500 g culture in a plastic tray/basin, add moistened seeds, mix well and dry in shade for 30 minutes. This may be sown immediately.

Seedling root dip (for transplanted crops): Slurry of the culture is prepared by mixing 500 g culture with 50 ml of water and the roots are dipped in the slurry for 15-20 minutes before transplanting.

Soil application: Mix the culture with FYM or compost in the ratio 1:25 and apply directly in the soil.

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