Bio fertilizer is the biological preparation of live and dormant microorganisms, which when inoculated in seed, soil or seedlings of roots, that promote the plant growth and also enhance the yield of crop is termed as bio fertilizer.
It contains generally microbes that help in the nitrogen (N) fixation, phosphate solubilization, etc. It can play an important role in sustaining the agriculture system. Especially in the agricultural system in Pakistan because our country is more dependent on agriculture. Our 25% GDP is based on agricultural products and absorbing 45% of the country’s total labor force. Pakistani farmers consume a hundred billion rupees on fertilizer products, even if we contribute only 10% of bio fertilizer it can save billions of rupees. Some problems occur which can reduce the use by farmers.
That is the inappropriate performance of the field, lack of standards and lack of knowledge of the regulation of bio fertilizer and some quality issues of the product. If we solve these problems, a good response must be expected through its used in our country. When we assure the quality of the product by testing in the field will help the popularization and adoption of bio fertilizer technology.
The word ‘bio’ means ‘life’ and ‘fertilizer’ stand for ‘a product that provides nutrients essential for plants’.
That product contains living or latent microbes ( Bacteria, fungi, algae, etc.). These may be liquid or carrier based. This helps in fixing the atmospheric N mobilize soil nutrients that add the secretion of growth promoting substances that increase the growth as well as yield. But Unlike chemical fertilizers, bio fertilizer is not used to provide nutrients present in them, they use as green manure except ‘Azolla’. Generally, bio fertilizer is divided into four categories;
1. N2 fixing bio fertilizers
➢ Free-living (Azotobacter, Clostridium, Anabaena, Nostoc)
➢ Symbiotic (Rhizobium, Anabaena azollae)
➢ Associative Symbiotic (Azosprillium)
2. Phosphate bio fertilizer
• P solubilizing Bio fertilizer
➢ Bacteria (Bacillus subtilis, Pseudomonas stirata)
➢ Fungi (Penicillium s p, Aspergillus awamori)
• P mobilizing bio fertilizer
➢ Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (Glomus s p, Scutellospora sp..)
➢ Ectomycorrhiza (Laccaria sp., Pisolithus sp.,)
➢ Ericoid Mycorrhiza (Pezizella ericae)
3. Bio fertilizer for micro nutrients
➢ Silicate & zinc solubilizers (Bacillus sp.)
4. Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria
➢ Pseudomonas (Pseudomonas fluorescence)
The regular use of chemical fertilizer is a key source for enhancing crop yield but these chemicals pollute the soil and also affect the environment. Thus we have to use some cheaper way to exploit the intrinsic resources of the production system which is human and eco-friendly. The extreme benefits from these bio fertilizers depend upon their quantity and efficiency, which is governed by a large number of environmental & soil factors.
The technology for the production of bio fertilizer is generally simple and installation cost is very low as compared to chemical fertilizers. Long term use is more efficient, productive, economical and easily usable for small farmers as compared to chemical fertilizers. Because as new varieties of chemicals for growth-enhancing of crops are produced
their cost of production also increases regularly, that’s difficult for small level farmers mostly to buy for each season of the crops.
The oldest bio fertilizer in the world of leguminous crops and enrichment of soil fertility is ‘Rhizobium’. The uniqueness of micro organisms and their special abilities in a well-defined set of environments and the
condition where they cultured has made them a very strong candidate in the agriculture department and as well as food security issues.
In Pakistan, a lot of research departments are working on enhancing the use & their role agriculture department.
- Ayyub Agriculture Research Institute Faisalabad (AARI)
- Nuclear Institute of Agriculture & Biology (NIAB)
- National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Faisalabad (NIBGE)
- National Agriculture Research Centre Islamabad (NARC)
- Institute of soil and Environment Science (ISES)
- Nature Farming Research and Development Foundation (NFRDF)
Microbial technology has proved that various problems of agriculture are solved by their usage over the past 50 years but have not been used over a wide range of scale. Major limitations on the usage of bio fertilizer are;
- Lack of standards of the bio fertilizer. In Pakistan, proper guides regard the regulation of bio fertilizer have not been farmed at the national level. Sometimes quality level also affects the growth, and it also affects the confidence of the farmer. In Pakistan, one of the big problems is to
compile the farmer for the new technology. If that technology didn’t work the first time, they never use it again. That’s why proper guides and no compromise with quality are required for the implementation of new technology which is beneficial for the yield.
- In most of the cases, bio fertilizers are not environmental and ecological specific because bio fertilizers didn’t show positive results. Due to this lose the convinced farmer lost his confidence in the new technology.
- Lack of strong promotion of bio fertilizer and improper extension work and the lack of publicity among the end-user i-e farmers.
- Untrained manpower to apply a specific quantity at a particular time and the cost of production of good quality
- Extreme variations in the climate (like to hot and dry time) often make its result unstable.
- Strong extension and training programs are not being held to convince the farmer or exploit the potential about this.
- Mutation during the fermentation process of bio fertilizer one of the major limitation.
- Somewhat it needs the high cost of investment.
- One of the big issue related to the storage, because of unavailability of proper storage place for the bio fertilizer to protect from the adverse climatic factors.
- Poor availability carrier of the bio fertilizer is the main constraint because it affects the shelf life.
Importance of the Bio-fertilizer
- Use of bio fertilizer technique helps in the improvement of Nitrogen fixation, Phosphorous solubilization.
- Bio fertilizers like ‘Rhizobium’ enhance the agronomic yield under the temperate climate conditions.
- ‘Azospirillum’ application improves the leaf area index and also the yield aspects.
- One of the most important factors related to this is to enhance the enzymic activity in the soil.
- It is observed that by inoculation of ‘Rhizobium’ in seed under 20kg N + 45kg P2O5 ha-1 will increase the yield of grain and also straw yield.
- They improve the quality of soil and also increase the nutrient availability in the soil for plants.
- They don’t show immediate results in soil, takes some time and show spectacular results.
- It makes the direct availability of atmospheric Nitrogen.
- Microbes that are present in it, converts complex nutrients into the simple nutrient, that is available for plant growth.
- They also help to protect plants from soil born diseases at a particular temperature.
In organic farming, the essential component is bio fertilizer and plays an important role in the maintenance of soil fertility for the long term. And also help in fixing atmospheric nitrogen, mobilizing phosphorous and
as well as fixing the micro and macro nutrients in the soil and make it available for plants. The gap of nutrients between the removal of crops and the supply of essential nutrients through chemical fertilizers is
in millions of tons.
To full fill this deference we have to apply the bio fertilizers, because they are more efficient for plants. Government have to do the proper extension work for a farmer and convinced them to apply the bio fertilizer as compared to the chemical fertilizers. The traditional farming may also reason on the adoption of bio fertilizers.
We have to overcome these problems to get long term good results for crop production. And as well as proper training also required on the usage of bio fertilizer for farmers.