Bio-fertilizers promotes the growth of plants, trees by increasing the supply of essential nutrients to the host plant. It comprises of living organisms which include mycorrhizal fungi, blue-green algae, and bacteria. Mycorrhizal fungi preferentially withdraw minerals from organic matter for the plant whereas cyanobacteria are characterized by the property of nitrogen fixation. They are harmful compared to chemical fertilizers.
Nitrogen fixation is defined as a process of converting the di-nitrogen molecules into nitrogen compounds. For instance, some bacteria convert insoluble forms of soil phosphorus into soluble forms. As a result, phosphorus will be available for plants.
Types of Bio-fertilizers
- Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria: Rhizobium is one of the vital symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Here bacteria seek shelter and obtain food from plants. In return, they help by providing fixed nitrogen to the plants.
- Loose Association of Nitrogen Fixing Bacteria: Azospirillum is a nitrogen-fixing bacteria that live around the roots of higher plants but do not develop an intimate relationship with plants. It is often termed as rhizosphere Association as this bacteria collect plant exudate and the same is used as a food by them. This process is termed as associative mutualism.
- Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixing Cyanobacteria: A blue-green algae or Cyanobacteria from the symbiotic association with several plants. Liverworts, cycad roots, fern, and lichens are some of the Nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria. Anabaena is found at the leaf cavities of the fern. It is responsible for nitrogen fixation. The fern plants decay and release the same for utilization of the rice plants. Azolla pinnate is a fern that resides in rice plants but they do not regulate the growth of the plant.
- Free-Living Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteria: They are free-living soil bacteria which perform nitrogen fixation. They are saprotrophic, anaerobes such as Clostridium, beijerinckii, Azotobacter, and Bacillus polymyxin.
Components of Bio-fertilizers
- Bio Compost: It is one of the Eco-friendly product composed of waste material released from sugar industries which are decomposed. It is magnified with human-friendly bacteria, fungi, and various plants.
- Tricho-Card: It is an eco-friendly and nonpathogenic product used in a variety of crops as well as in horticultural and ornamental plants, such as paddy apple, sugar cane, brinjal, corn, cotton, vegetables, citrus etc. It acts as a productive destroyer and antagonistic hyper parasitic against eggs of several bores, shoot, fruit, leaves, flower eaters and other pathogens in the field.
- Azotobacter: It protects the roots from pathogens present in the soil and plays a crucial role in fixing the atmospheric nitrogen. Nitrogen is a very important nutrient for the plant and about 78% of total atmosphere comprises of nitrogen.
- Phospho: Phosphorous-fertilizers are used to determine the nitrogen level of the soil. That is some soil needs more nitrogen while some needs less nitrogen. It releases insoluble phosphorus into the soil to settle the phosphorus in clay minerals.
- Vermi Compost: It is an Eco-friendly organic fertilizer comprises of vitamins, hormones, organic carbon, sulfur, antibiotics that help to increase the quantity and quality of yield. Vermicompost is one of the quick fixes to improve the fertility of the soil.
Importance of Bio-fertilizers
- Bio-fertilizers improve soil texture and yield of plants.
- They do not allow pathogens to flourish.
- They are eco-friendly and they are cost-effective.
- Biofertilizers protect the environment from pollutants.
- They destroy many harmful components present in the soil that causes many plant diseases.
- Bio-fertilizers are proved to be effective even under semi-arid conditions.
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