Fertilizer is one of the major contributors to increased crop production but thecontinuous and imbalanced use of chemical fertilizer is causing unsustainable environmentalpenalties like soil health deterioration, contamination of surface water, nitrate pollution of ground water and atmospheric pollution etc. The problems like leaching, volatilization,de-nitrification of nitrogen and deposition of non-available phosphorus in soils are also dueto more use of chemical fertilizers. Fertilizer use efficiency in India is 30-50 % for Nitrogen,15-20% for Phosphorus and 70-80 % for Potassium. Above all, the production of inorganicfertilizers is energy intensive, depending upon fossil fuel and hence becoming costly day byday. To cope with the above situation, Indian agricultural scientists are constantly stressingupon the use of bio-fertilizers. During 2001-2002, the production and distribution of bio-fertilizers in the country was roughly 10,000 metric tones, where the production of Rhizobium, Azotobactor, Azospirillum, Acetobactor
and PSB were 1603, 1553, 1258, 166and 4088 metric tones, respectively. Among the other bio-fertilizers, compost acceleratorslike cellulose/ lignin decomposers have got considerable importance. A biofertilizer (also bio-fertilizer) is a substance which contains living microorganisms which, when applied to seed, plant surfaces, or soil, colonizes the rhizosphere or the interior of the plant and promotes growth by increasing the supply or availability of primary nutrients to the host plant. Bio-fertilizers add nutrients through the natural processes of nitrogen fixation, solubilizing phosphorus, and stimulating plant growth through the synthesis of growth-promoting substances. Bio-fertilizers can be expected to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The microorganisms in bio-fertilizers restore the soil's natural nutrient cycle and build soil organic matter. Through the use of bio-fertilizers, healthy plants can be grown,...
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