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Biofertilizers – The slightly underrated farmer’s ultimate mate!qrcode

Jan. 27, 2021

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Jan. 27, 2021

By Dr. Richa Pawar Nair, Director at Aarialife

In today’s world, looking at the different threats to human life, coming in from all directions has put the focus of every human today on earth, back from ‘Wealth’ to ‘Health’ … 

Everything that we do, we now try and attach the word ‘Safe’ to it. The same applies to Food. ‘Safe Food’ today has become a necessity for a healthy life. Feeding the ever increasing global population is a big challenge which, the agriculturists today are facing. Attach the word ‘Safe’ to the ‘Food produce’ and the challenge increases many fold.  Simply because, our food productivity has been declining at a rapid rate for various reasons. This has led to unprecedented dependency on chemical fertilizers and pesticides today. Most of us today read and talk about the hazardous pesticides which are entering the human chain and affecting all strata’s of the human race.  This has led to a lot of talk on Sustainable and Eco safe Agricultural practices. Many different practices and agents are being discussed today for manoeuvring our farming practices towards producing ‘Safe Food’.

Among these Biofertilizers can be a major driving force to help us move towards residue free, safe to consume, crop produce. Biofertilizers are soil microbial inoculants, which not only help the soil ecology to thrive but also improve soil fertility manifolds. The commercial history of bio-fertilizer began with the launch of “Nitragin” by Nobbe and Hilther in 1895. This was followed by the discovery of Azotobacter and then Blue-green algae and a host of other microorganisms which are being used till date as bio-fertilizer

Beneficial Bacteria - Microscopic view

Microorganisms which are today used as biofertilizers as Nitrogen fixers like Azotobacter spp. Rhizobium spp. , potassium and phosphorus solubilizing bacteria, growth promoting rhizobacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, cyanobacteria and few other microbes which make the soil microbiome.  Soil Fertility has been called out by many agriculturist as one of the main factors leading to reduced crop yields in today’s times. Biofertilizer application can play a major role in combating this issue effectively. 

Biofertilizers can be one of the key drivers of sustainable agriculture. Though not very highly relied upon by today’s farmer, biofertilizer when applied plays a key role in soil organic adjustments, pH maintenance, recycling of crop residue, soil fertility renovation and the biocontrol of pathogens and insect pests. Biofertilizers helps keep the soil environment rich in all kinds of micro- and macro-nutrients by nitrogen fixation, phosphate and potassium solubilisation or mineralization, release of plant growth regulating substances and antibacterial substances in the soil. The rhizosphere, which is the zone of soil surrounding plant roots, is known to comprise of up to 1011 microbial cells per gram of root and above 30,000 prokaryotic species that in general, are known to impact crop productivity. Biofertilizers are like the invisible warriors working around the root, running a small factory, helping the crop stand and flourish. 

The farmer today is well aware of the hazards of the over use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides being used in his farm and is on a look out today for combating these hurdles. Biofertilizers can be an important tool to overcome these issues and move towards a more sustainable and safe food producing practices. Limited use of biofertilizer in today’s agricultural practices by the farmer can be attributed to lack of awareness regarding biofertilizer application protocols, types of biofertilizers, unavailability of suitable strains, less access to the new and improved microbial strains etc. 

The need for sustainable ecosafe solutions for food production has also fuelled the interest in microbiome research. Today we have many ongoing research studies on microbiome genotypes for effective agricultural management. The plant microbe interactions are being researched and studied for better applications in agriculture. Stringent food safety regulations are also a big driving force for finding new innovative ways towards ensuring residue free farming. 

Here’s hoping that these factors encourages biofertilizer supplemented farming and helps us move towards a more Sustainable and Ecosafe agriculture.

Read original report on Dr. Richa Pawar Nair’s LinkedIn>>

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