Bioproducts are a great and sustainable way of increasing crop yields by reducing stress on the crop and enhancing the efficiency of nutrient usage.
The unwise use of agrochemicals (pesticides as well as fertilizers) has altered the soil’s physical, biological and chemical properties. It leads to the reduction of beneficial microorganisms found in the rhizosphere as well as decreased crop yield. It results in devastating consequences for groundwater, human health, and the ecosystem.
To address these issues, organic farming is taking priority across the globe. Its main aim is healthy, safe, and residue-free food for long-term sustainable development. Limiting the harmful effects of pesticides and chemical fertilizers and the other environmental impacts boost bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides to organic farming.
Utilizing bio-inputs, such as biofertilizers, biopesticides, FYM, and vermicompost, is an efficient method to improve soil health and crop yield and manage environmental balance.
Bio-fertilizers and Bio-pesticides have emerged as potential green inputs to supplement crop development and plant protection for organic agriculture. They are the best alternative to agrochemicals such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They are used to improve soil fertility and control different diseases and pests in crops. They are widely used in integrated pest management and nutrient control methods.
Also read – Fogponics – Future of Hydroponics
What are Bio-pesticides?
Bio-pesticides refer to certain pesticides made from natural substances like bacteria, animals, and plants. For instance, oil from canola and baking soda have pesticidal applications and are referred to as bio-pesticides.
To use bio-pesticides efficiently, the user should be knowledgeable about controlling pests. Make sure to read all instructions on the label.
Benefits of Bio-pesticides
Bio-pesticides have a higher percentage of success than chemical pesticides due to the following reasons:
- Bio-pesticides are less toxic and leave no harmful residues compared to conventional pesticides.
- They can be effective in small quantities and often decompose rapidly. They result in lower exposures and hence avoid the environmental issues that are caused by conventional pesticides.
- They only affect the targeted pest or closely related organisms, unlike chemical pesticides, which are harmful to the whole ecosystem.
- If used as a part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs, biopesticides significantly decrease the use of conventional pesticides while maintaining good crop yield.
What are Bio-fertilizers?
Bio-fertilizers are substances that contain microbes. They aid in encouraging plant growth by increasing the number of crucial nutrients to plants. They are living organisms that include mycorrhizal and blue-green algae, as well as bacteria.
They are living organisms that are able to colonize roots, increase branching root numbers and increase growth by indirect and direct mechanisms such as phytohormones, siderophores nitrogen fixation, micronutrients’ solubilization mechanisms. Different microbial formulations are utilized to improve specific microbial processes to improve the accessibility of nutrients so that plants can absorb them.
Benefits of Bio-fertilizers
Bio-fertilizers are essential because of these reasons:
- Bio-fertilizers improve soil texture and plant yield.
- Bio-fertilizers shield the environment from pollution.
- They prevent pathogens from thriving.
- They are environmentally friendly and cost-effective.
- They eliminate harmful chemicals in soils that could cause plant diseases.
- Bio-fertilizers have been proven to be efficient even in semi-arid environments.
Types of Bio-fertilizers
- Symbiotic Nitrogen-fixing Bacteria – Rhizobium is symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These bacteria seek shelter and get their food from plants. In return, they help in nitrogen fixation to plants.
- A loose association of Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteria – Azospirillum is a nitrogen-fixing bacteria that lives in the root systems of higher plants. They do not form an intimate bond with plant species. It is usually referred to as rhizosphere interaction because the bacteria are able to collect exudates of plants, and it is utilized as food by them. This is known as a mutual association.
- Symbiotic Nitrogen-Fixing Cyanobacteria – Blue-Green algae, also known as Cyanobacteria, forms a symbiotic connection with plants. Liverworts, cycad roots, ferns, and lichens are a few nitrogen-fixing Cyanobacteria. Anabaena is located within the leaves of a fern. It is the primary source of nitrogen fixation. The fern plants die and release nitrogen for use by rice plants.
- Free-Living Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteria – They are living soil bacteria that are responsible for nitrogen fixation. They are saprotrophic anaerobes, such as Clostridium Beijerinckii, Azotobacter, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can biofertilizers help the growth of plants?
Biofertilizers utilize certain microorganisms to capture atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into ammonia before making it available to plants.
Name a nitrogen-fixing bacteria that is important for nitrogen fixation.
Rhizobium is a significant nitrogen fixing bacteria that fix nitrogen. It is symbiotic with leguminous plants, particularly within their root nodules. It captures atmospheric nitrogen and transforms it into ammonia, which enhances the growth of plants.
What is the difference between fertilizer and biofertilizer?
Biofertilizer contains living microorganisms that promote growth by increasing the availability of primary nutrients to its host plant. Fertilizers are made up of synthetic chemicals. The primary nutrients added in fertilizers are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK).
What are the benefits of biofertilizers?
Biofertilizers are essential to improve the soil’s fertility. The long-term use of chemical fertilizers reduces soil fertility and impacts yield. On the other hand, biofertilizers increase the capacity of water to hold soils and provide essential nutrients like protein, vitamins, and nitrogen in the soil.