Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

Microbial Formulations for Enhanced Agricultural Productivity


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Bactolime, Bactogypsum, and Trichogypsum; Soil Microbes

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

The Indian Institute of Spices Research (IISR), located in Kozhikode, has introduced and validated three new microbial formulations (Bactolime, Bactogypsum, and Trichogypsum) aimed at improving agricultural productivity.

IISR Microbial Formulations

  • It leverages granular lime and gypsum to address soil pH issues while simultaneously delivering beneficial microorganisms.
  • These are developed using IISR’s proprietary patent-applied technology.
  • The formulations are:
  1. Bactolime:
  • Bactolime, the flagship product, combines beneficial bacteria, specifically plant growth-promoting Rhizobacteria, with liming material in a single formulation.
  • This integration ensures not only the correction of soil acidity but also the provision of essential nutrients to plants.
  1. Bactogypsum and Trichogypsum:
  • The other two formulations, Bactogypsum and Trichogypsum, utilize gypsum as a base material to buffer soil pH to a near-neutral level.
  • By creating an optimal environment for beneficial microbes, these formulations improve soil structure, enhance the availability of secondary nutrients, and boost overall microbial activity.

Back2Basics: Soil Microbes

Soil microbes refer to microorganisms that inhabit the soil environment and play vital roles in soil health, nutrient cycling, and plant growth. These microorganisms are diverse and include bacteria, fungi, archaea, protozoa, and algae.

Function Benefits
Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteria Convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, making it available to plants Enhance soil fertility, improve plant growth and yield
Phosphate-Solubilizing Bacteria Solubilize insoluble phosphorus, making it available to plants Increase phosphorus availability, promote root development and flowering
Mycorrhizal Fungi Form symbiotic relationships with plant roots, facilitate nutrient uptake Improve soil structure, enhance nutrient absorption, increase plant resilience
Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) Stimulate plant growth, enhance nutrient uptake, suppress pathogens Promote root development, improve nutrient efficiency, increase stress tolerance
Actinomycetes Decompose organic matter, produce antibiotics Enhance soil fertility, control soil-borne diseases and pests
Azotobacter Fix atmospheric nitrogen, produce growth-promoting substances Increase nitrogen availability, stimulate root growth and nutrient uptake
Azospirillum Fix atmospheric nitrogen, produce phytohormones Enhance nitrogen availability, promote root growth and stress tolerance
Bacillus spp. Produce antimicrobial compounds, enzymes Control plant diseases and pests, improve soil health and fertility



[2016] Why does the Government of India promote the use of ‘Neem-coated Urea’ in agriculture?

(a) Release of Neem oil in the soil increases nitrogen fixation by the soil microorganisms

(b) Neem coating slows down the rate of dissolution of urea in the soil

(c) Nitrous oxide, which is a greenhouse gas, is not at all released into atmosphere by crop fields

(d) It is a combination of a weedicide and a fertilizer for particular crops

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