What are Biofertilisers?

BioFertilisers/Biofertilizers are substances (often nutrients on a substrate) that contains microbes, which helps in promoting the growth of plants and trees by increasing the supply of essential nutrients to the plants. It comprises living organisms which include mycorrhizal fungi, blue-green algae, and bacteria.

Types of Biofertilizers

Following are the important types of biofertilizers:

  • 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 these bacteria collect plant exudate and the same is used as food by them. This process is termed associative mutualism.
  • Symbiotic Nitrogen-Fixing Cyanobacteria: 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 fields but they do not regulate the growth of the plant.
  • Free-Living Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteria: They are free-living soil bacteria that perform nitrogen fixation. They are saprotrophic anaerobes such as Clostridium beijerinckii, Azotobacter, etc.

Importance of Biofertilizers

Biofertilizers are important for the following reasons:

  • Biofertilizers improve the soil texture and yield of plants.
  • They do not allow pathogens to flourish.
  • They are eco-friendly and cost-effective.
  • Biofertilizers protect the environment from pollutants since they are natural fertilizers.
  • They destroy many harmful substances present in the soil that can cause plant diseases.
  • Biofertilizers are proved to be effective even under semi-arid conditions.

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