Biofertilizers: an advent for eco-friendly and sustainable agriculture development

*Article not assigned to an issue yet


Review Articles | Published:

Print ISSN : 0970-4078.
Online ISSN : 2229-4473.
Pub Email:
Doi: 10.1007/s42535-022-00550-9
First Page: 0
Last Page: 0
Views: 308

Keywords: Sustainable crop production, Beneficial bacteria, Biofertilizer preparation, Crop improvement


Agriculture is facing multiple challenges as it has to produce more food to feed the growing global population. There is still an adequate bridgeable gap in the production which is yet to be exploited. The potentially huge eco-clean market will contribute to the overall development in sustainable agriculture mainly for more efficient production and environment-friendly approaches. Biofertilizers are considered to be promising tools in the agriculture ecosystem as it mitigates the pitfalls of chemical fertilizers. In addition to the restoration of the microbial flora of the soil, biofertilizers improve the overall health by adding essential nutrients viz. nitrogen, vitamins, proteins, and enhance the water-holding capacity of the soil. Biofertilizers act through microbial-driven processes, where a consortium of living cells mobilizes the unavailable nutrients in the soil and induces plant growth. The biological nature and the beneficial outlook of the biofertilizers makes it a prerequisite in sustainable farming. Hence, there is a need for an emphasis on the significance of the biological inoculants in the impending years. In spite of these, biofertilizer production and commercialization are underutilized and needs a focus on their large-scale production aspect. This review focuses on the use of microbial strains as biofertilizers and the important roles performed by these beneficial microbes in maintaining soil fertility and enhancing crop productivity through mechanisms such as nitrogen fixation, phosphorus solubilization etc., along with their formulations, and the current state-of-art global scenario on biofertilizer market towards sustainable agriculture.

#Get Access

(*Only SPR Members can get full access. Click Here to Apply and get access)



Abd El-Fattah DA, Eweda WE, Zayed MS, Hassanein MK (2013) Effect of carrier materials, sterilization method, and storage temperature on survival and biological activities of Azotobacter chroococcum inoculant. Ann Agric Sci 58:111–118.

Abdallah M, Dubousset L, Meuriot F, Etienne P, Avice JC, Ourry A (2010) Effect of mineral sulphur availability on nitrogen and sulphur uptake and remobilization during the vegetative growth of Brassica napus L. J Exp Bot 61:2635–2646.

Abdel-Lateif K, Bogusz D, Hocher V (2012) The role of flavonoids in the establishment of plant roots endosymbioses with arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi, rhizobia and Frankia bacteria. Plant Signal Behav 7:636–641.

Adeleke RA, Raimi AR, Roopnarain A, Mokubedi SM (2019) Status and prospects of bacterial inoculants for sustainable management of Agroecosystems. In: Giri B, Prasad R, Wu Q-S, Varma A (eds) Biofertilizers for sustainable agriculture and environment. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 137–172

Adesemoye AO, Kloepper JW (2009) Plant–microbes interactions in enhanced fertilizer-use efficiency. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 85:1–12.

Afanador-Barajas LN, Navarro-Noya YE, Luna-Guido ML, Dendooven L (2021) Impact of a bacterial consortium on the soil bacterial community structure and maize (Zea mays L.) cultivation. Sci Rep 11:13092.

Ahmed ZFR, Alnuaimi AKH, Askri A, Tzortzakis N (2021a) Evaluation of lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) production under hydroponic system: nutrient solution derived from fish waste vs. inorganic nutrient solution. Horticulturae 7:292.

Ahmed ZFR, Askri A, Alnuaimi AKH, Altamimi ASHR, Alnaqbi MMA (2021b) Liquid fertilizer as a potential alternative nutrient solution for strawberry production under greenhouse conditions. Acta Hortic 1321:165–172.

Ali AM, Awad MYM, Hegab SA, Gawad AMAE, Eissa MA (2021) Effect of potassium solubilizing bacteria (Bacillus cereus) on growth and yield of potato. J Plant Nutr 44:411–420.

Bakri Y, Akeed Y, Thonart P (2012) Comparison between continuous and batch processing to produce xylanase by Penicillium canescens 10-10c. Braz J Chem Eng 29:441–447

Barker AV, Pilbeam DJ (2015) Handbook of plant nutrition. CRC Press

Bashan Y (1998) Inoculants of plant growth-promoting bacteria for use in agriculture. Biotechnol Adv 16:729–770.

Bashan Y, Hernandez JP, Leyva LA, Bacilio M (2002) Alginate microbeads as inoculant carriers for plant growth-promoting bacteria. Biol Fert Soils 35:359–368.

Basu A, Prasad P, Das SN, Kalam S, Sayyed RZ, Reddy MS, El Enshasy H (2021) Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) as green bioinoculants: recent developments, constraints, and prospects. Sustainability 13:1140.

Bennett MA, Fritz VA, Callan NW (1992) Impact of seed treatments on crop stand establishment. HortTechnology 2:345–349

Berninger T, González López Ó, Bejarano A, Preininger C, Sessitsch A (2018) Maintenance and assessment of cell viability in formulation of non-sporulating bacterial inoculants. Microb Biotechnol 11:277–301.

Bhardwaj D, Ansari MW, Sahoo RK, Tuteja N (2014) Biofertilizers function as key player in sustainable agriculture by improving soil fertility, plant tolerance and crop productivity. Microb Cell Factories 13:66.

Bhatt K, Maheshwari DK (2020) Zinc solubilizing bacteria (Bacillus megaterium) with multifarious plant growth promoting activities alleviates growth in Capsicum annuum L. 3 Biotech 10:36.

Bhattacharjee R, Dey U (2014) Biofertilizer, a way towards organic agriculture: a review. Afr J Microbiol Res 8:2332–2343.

Bhattacharjee RB, Singh A, Mukhopadhyay SN (2008) Use of nitrogen-fixing bacteria as biofertiliser for non-legumes: prospects and challenges. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 80:199–209

Bibi F, Ilyas N, Arshad M, Khalid A, Saeed M, Ansar S, Batley J (2022) Formulation and efficacy testing of bio-organic fertilizer produced through solid-state fermentation of agro-waste by Burkholderia cenocepacia. Chemosphere 291:132762.

Billah M, Khan M, Bano A, Hassan TU, Munir A, Gurmani AR (2019) Phosphorus and phosphate solubilizing bacteria: keys for sustainable agriculture. Geomicrobiol J 36:904–916.

Blake L, Mercik S, Koerschens M, Goulding KWT, Stempen S, Weigel A, Poulton PR, Powlson DS (1999) Potassium content in soil, uptake in plants and the potassium balance in three european long-term field experiments. Plant Soil 216:1–14.

Brar SK, Sarma SJ, Chaabouni E (2012) Shelf-life of biofertilizers: an accord between formulations and genetics. J Biofertilizers Biopestic.

Brock TD, Brock KM, Belly RT, Weiss RL (1972) Sulfolobus: a new genus of sulfur-oxidizing bacteria living at low pH and high temperature. Arch Mikrobiol 84:54–68.

Cardarelli M, Woo SL, Rouphael Y, Colla G (2022) Seed treatments with microorganisms can have a biostimulant effect by influencing germination and seedling growth of crops. Plants (Basel) 11:259.

Cardinale M, Ratering S, Suarez C, Zapata Montoya AM, Geissler-Plaum R, Schnell S (2015) Paradox of plant growth promotion potential of rhizobacteria and their actual promotion effect on growth of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) under salt stress. Microbiol Res 181:22–32.

Cassán F, Diaz-Zorita M (2016) Azospirillum sp. in current agriculture: from the laboratory to the field. Soil Biol Biochem 103:117–130.

Chang HB, Lin CW, Huang HJ (2005) Zinc-induced cell death in rice (Oryza Sativa L.) roots. Plant Growth Regul 46:261–266.

Chaudhary S, Tanvi, Verma N, Goyal S (2018) Response of sulphur oxidizing bacterial inoculation on growth and yield parameters of mustard (Brassica juncea L.). Int J Chem Stud 6:2452–2457

Chianu JN, Nkonya EM, Mairura FS, Chianu JN, Akinnifesi FK (2011) Biological nitrogen fixation and socioeconomic factors for legume production in sub-saharan Africa: a review. Agron Sustain Dev 31:139–154.

Choudhury ATMA, Kennedy IR (2004) Prospects and potentials for systems of biological nitrogen fixation in sustainable rice production. Biol Fertil Soils 39:219–227.

Ciani M, Lippolis A, Fava F, Rodolfi L, Niccolai A, Tredici MR (2021) Microbes: food for the future. Foods 10:971.

Cirera X, Masset E (2010) Income distribution trends and future food demand. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 365:2821–2834.

Coelho LF, de Lima CJB, Rodovalho CM, Bernardo MP, Contiero J (2011) Lactic acid production by new Lactobacillus plantarum LMISM6 grown in molasses: optimization of medium composition. Braz J Chem Eng 28:27–36

Cortivo CD, Ferrari M, Visioli G, Lauro M, Fornasier F, Barion G, Panozzo A, Vamerali T (2020) Effects of seed-applied biofertilizers on rhizosphere biodiversity and growth of common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in the field. Front Plant Sci 11:72.

Das HK (2019) Azotobacters as biofertilizer. In: Gadd GM, Sariaslani S (eds) Advances in Applied Microbiology. Academic Press, pp 1–43

Das K, Rajawat MVS, Saxena AK, Prasanna R (2017) Development of Mesorhizobium ciceri-based biofilms and analyses of their antifungal and plant growth promoting activity in Chickpea challenged by Fusarium Wilt. Indian J Microbiol 57:48–59.

Daza A, Santamaria C, Rodriguez-Navarro DN, Camacho M, Orive R, Temprano F (2000) Perlite as a carrier for bacterial inoculants. Soil Biol Biochem 32:567–572.

Deaker R, Kecskés ML, Rose MT, Amprayn K, Krishnen G, Cuc TTK, Nga VT, Cong PT, Hien NT, Kennedy IR (2011) Practical methods for the quality control of inoculant biofertilisers. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Canberra

Deepti S, Mishra S (2014) Exploitation and assessment of fly ash as a carrier for biofertilizers. Int J Environ Sci 3:21–28

Delfim J, Dijoo ZK (2021) Bacillus thuringiensis as a biofertilizer and plant growth promoter. In: Dar GH, Bhat RA, Mehmood MA, Hakeem KR (eds) Microbiota and Biofertilizers, vol 2. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 251–265

Dubey R, Gupta DK, Sharma GK (2020) Chemical stress on plants. In: Rakshit A, Singh HB, Singh AK, Singh US, Fraceto L (eds) New frontiers in stress management for durable agriculture. Springer Singapore, Singapore, pp 101–128

Etesami H, Emami S, Alikhani HA (2017) Potassium solubilizing bacteria (KSB): mechanisms, promotion of plant growth, and future prospects ­ a review. J Soil Sci Plant Nutr 17:897–911.

Fasusi OA, Cruz C, Babalola OO (2021) Agricultural sustainability: microbial biofertilizers in rhizosphere management. Agriculture 11:163.

Fernandes A, Barreira JCM, Antonio AL, Bento A, Botelho ML, Ferreira ICFR (2011) Assessing the effects of gamma irradiation and storage time in energetic value and in major individual nutrients of chestnuts. Food Chem Toxicol 49:2429–2432.

Forte IH, García MCN (2019) Rhizobia promote rice (Oryza sativa L.) growth: first evidence in Cuba. In: Zúñiga-Dávila D, González-Andrés F, Ormeño-Orrillo E (eds) Microbial probiotics for agricultural systems. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 251–265

Fuentes-Ramirez LE, Caballero-Mellado J (2005) Bacterial biofertilizers. In: Siddiqui ZA (ed) PGPR: Biocontrol and Biofertilization, Chap. 5. Springer, Netherlands, pp 143–172

García-Fraile P, Menéndez E, Rivas R (2015) Role of bacterial biofertilizers in agriculture and forestry. AIMS Bioeng 2:183–205.

Goteti PK, Emmanuel LDA, Desai S, Shaik MHA (2013) Prospective zinc solubilising bacteria for enhanced nutrient uptake and growth promotion in maize (Zea mays L.). Int J Microbiol 2013:1–7.

Gryndler M, Vosátka M, Hrŝelová H, Catská V, Chvátalová I, Jansa J (2002) Effect of dual inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria on growth and mineral nutrition of strawberry. J Plant Nut 25:1341–1358.

Haouas A, El Modafar C, Douira A, Ibnsouda-Koraichi S, Filali-Maltouf A, Moukhli A, Amir S (2021) Alcaligenes aquatilis GTE53: phosphate solubilising and bioremediation bacterium isolated from new biotope “phosphate sludge enriched-compost”. Saudi J Biol Sci 28:371–379.

Hassan TU, Bano A (2016) Biofertilizer: a novel formulation for improving wheat growth, physiology and yield. Pak J Bot 48:2233–2241

Hawkesford MJ (2000) Plant responses to sulphur deficiency and the genetic manipulation of sulphate transporters to improve S-utilization efficiency. J Exp Bot 51:131–138.

Herrmann L, Lesueur D (2013) Challenges of formulation and quality of biofertilizers for successful inoculation. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 97:8859–8873.

Htwe AZ, Moh SM, Soe KM, Moe K, Yamakawa T (2019) Effects of biofertilizer produced from Bradyrhizobium and Streptomyces griseoflavus on plant growth, nodulation, nitrogen fixation, nutrient uptake, and seed yield of mung bean, cowpea, and soybean. Agronomy 9:77.

Hussain A, Zahir ZA, Ditta A, Tahir MU, Ahmad M, Mumtaz MZ, Hayat K, Hussain S (2019) Production and implication of bio-activated organic fertilizer enriched with zinc-solubilizing bacteria to boost up Maize (Zea mays L.) production and biofortification under two cropping seasons. Agronomy 10:39.

Ijaz M, Ali Q, Ashraf S, Kamran M, Rehman A (2019) Development of future bioformulations for sustainable agriculture. In: Kumar V, Prasad R, Kumar M, Choudhary DK (eds) Microbiome in plant health and disease. Springer, Singapore, pp 421–446

Iqbal U, Jamil N, Ali I, Hasnain S (2010) Effect of zinc-phosphate-solubilizing bacterial isolates on growth of Vigna radiata. Ann Microbiol 60:243–248.

Itelima JU, Bang WJ, Onyimba IA, Sila MD, Egbere OJ (2018) Bio-fertilizers as key player in enhancing soil fertility and crop productivity: a review. Direct Res J Agric Food Sci 6:73–83

Jacob SM, Kumar RR (2020) Sustainable initiative of using cyanobacteria as a liquid fertilizer for hydroponic cultivation: a waste to wealth utilization. J Emerg Technol Innov Res 7:1430–1461.

Jain R, Saxena J, Sharma V (2010) The evaluation of free and encapsulated Aspergillus awamori for phosphate solubilization in fermentation and soil-plant system. Appl Soil Ecol 46:90–94.

Jambhulkar PP, Sharma P, Yadav R (2016) Delivery systems for introduction of microbial inoculants in the field. In: Singh D, Singh H, Prabha R (eds) Microbial inoculants in sustainable agricultural productivity. Springer, New Delhi, pp 199–218

Jha CK, Saraf M (2012) Evaluation of multispecies plant-growth-promoting consortia for the growth promotion of Jatropha curcas L. J Plant Growth Regul 31:588–598.

Jimtha John C, Jishma P, Karthika NR, Nidheesh KS, Ray JG, Mathew J, Radhakrishnan EK (2017) Pseudomonas fluorescens R68 assisted enhancement in growth and fertilizer utilization of Amaranthus tricolor (L.). 3 Biotech 7:256.

Jones DL, Darrah PR (1994) Role of root derived organic acids in the mobilization of nutrients from the rhizosphere. Plant Soil 166:247–257.

Joshi N, Gothalwal R, Singh M, Dave K (2021) Novel sulphur-oxidizing bacteria consummate sulphur deficiency in oil seed crop. Arch Microbiol 203:1–6.

Júnior SS, Stamford NP, Oliveira WS, Silva EVN, Santos CERS, Freitas ADS, Silva VSG (2018) Microbial biofertilizer increases nutrient uptake on grape (Vitis labrusca L) grown in an alkaline soil reclaimed by sulfur and Acidithiobacillus. Aust J Crop Sci 12:1695–1701.

Kaljeet S, Keyeo F, Amir HG (2011) Influence of carrier materials and storage temperature on survivability of rhizobial inoculant. Asian J Plant Sci 10:331–337.

Kamran S, Shahid I, Baig DN, Rizwan M, Malik KA, Mehnaz S (2017) Contribution of zinc solubilizing bacteria in growth promotion and zinc content of wheat. Front Microbiol 8:2593.

Kennedy IR, Choudhury ATMA, Kecskés ML (2004) Non-symbiotic bacterial diazotrophs in crop-farming systems: can their potential for plant growth promotion be better exploited? Soil Biol Biochem 36:1229–1244.

Khalil HA, El-Ansary DO, Ahmed ZFR (2022) Mitigation of salinity stress on pomegranate (Punica granatum L. cv. Wonderful) plant using salicylic acid foliar spray. Horticulturae 8:375.

Khavazi K, Rejali F, Seguin P, Miransari M (2007) Effects of carrier sterilisation method and incubation on survival of Bradyrhizobium japonicum in soybean (Glycine max L.) inoculants. Enzyme Microb Technol 41:780–784.

Kour D, Rana KL, Yadav AN, Yadav N, Kumar M, Kumar V, Vyas P, Dhaliwal HS, Saxena AK (2020) Microbial biofertilizers: bioresources and eco-friendly technologies for agricultural and environmental sustainability. Biocatal Agric Biotechnol 23:101487.

Krishnamoorthy A, Agarwal T, Kotamreddy JNR, Bhattacharya R, Mitra A, Maiti TK, Maiti MK (2020) Impact of seed-transmitted endophytic bacteria on intra- and inter-cultivar plant growth promotion modulated by certain sets of metabolites in rice crop. Microbiol Res 241:126582.

Kumar A, Dewangan S, Lawate P, Bahadur I, Prajapati S (2019) Zinc-solubilizing bacteria: a boon for sustainable agriculture. In: Sayyed RZ, Arora NK, Reddy MS (eds) Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria for sustainable stress management. Springer, Singapore, pp 139–155

Kumari M, Thakur IS (2018) Biochemical and proteomic characterization of Paenibacillus sp. ISTP10 for its role in plant growth promotion and in rhizostabilization of cadmium. Bioresour Technol Rep 3:59–66.

Lawal TE, Babalola OO (2014) Relevance of biofertilizers to agriculture. J Hum Ecol 47:35–43.

Lazcano C, Boyd E, Holmes G, Hewavitharana S, Pasulka A, Ivors K (2021) The rhizosphere microbiome plays a role in the resistance to soil-borne pathogens and nutrient uptake of strawberry cultivars under field conditions. Sci Rep 11:3188.

Lea PJ (1997) Primary nitrogen metabolism. In: Dey PM, Harbome JB (eds) Plant Biochemistry. Academic Press, New York, pp 273–313

Lee SK, Lur HS, Lo KJ, Cheng KC, Chuang CC, Tang SJ, Yang ZW, Liu CT (2016) Evaluation of the effects of different liquid inoculant formulations on the survival and plant-growth-promoting efficiency of Rhodopseudomonas palustris strain PS3. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 100:7977–7987.

Leggett M, Leland J, Kellar K, Epp B (2011) Formulation of microbial biocontrol agents—an industrial perspective. Can J Plant Pathol 33:101–107.

Lelapalli S, Baskar S, Jacob SM, Paranthaman S (2021) Characterization of phosphate solubilizing plant growth promoting rhizobacterium Lysinibacillus pakistanensis strain PCPSMR15 isolated from Oryza sativa. Curr Res Microb Sci 2:100080.

Lian B, Fu PQ, Mo DM, Liu CQ (2002) A comprehensive review of the mechanism of potassium releasing by silicate bacteria. Acta Mineral Sin 22:179–183

Linder T (2019) Making the case for edible microorganisms as an integral part of a more sustainable and resilient food production system. Food Secur 11:265–278.

Lorda G, Breccia JD, Barbeito V, Pagliero F, Boeris S, Castaño C, Pordomingo A, Altolaguirre F, Pastor MD (2007) Peat-based inoculum of Bradyrhizobium japonicum and Sinorhizobium fredii supplemented with xanthan gum. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 23:1–5.

Ludueña LM, Anzuay MS, Angelini JG, McIntosh M, Becker A, Rupp O, Goesmann A, Blom J, Fabra A, Taurian T (2019) Genome sequence of the endophytic strain Enterobacter sp. J49, a potential biofertilizer for peanut and maize. Genomics 111:913–920.

Luo Y, Zhou M, Zhao Q, Wang F, Gao J, Sheng H, An L (2020) Complete genome sequence of Sphingomonas sp. Cra20, a drought resistant and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria. Genomics 112:3648–3657.

Ma Y (2019) Seed coating with beneficial microorganisms for precision agriculture. Biotechnol Adv 37:107423.

Mahanty T, Bhattacharjee S, Goswami M, Bhattacharyya P, Das B, Ghosh A, Tribedi P (2017) Biofertilizers: a potential approach for sustainable agriculture development. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24:3315–3335.

Mahdi SS, Hassan GI, Samoon SA, Rather HA, Dar SA, Zehra B (2010) Bio-fertilizers in organic agriculture. J Phytol 2:42–54

Malusá E, Sas-Paszt L, Ciesielska J (2012) Technologies for beneficial microorganisms inocula used as biofertilizers. Sci World J 2012:1–12.

Malusà E, Pinzari F, Canfora L (2016) Efficacy of biofertilizers: challenges to improve crop production. In: Singh DP, Singh HB, Prabha R (eds) Microbial inoculants in sustainable agricultural productivity. Springer, New Delhi, pp 17–40

Maria RK, Felinov RB (2017) Development of carrier based in vitro produced arbuscular mycorrhizal (am) fungal inocula for organic agriculture. Ann Adv Agric Sci 1:26–37.

Martínez-Viveros O, Jorquera MA, Crowley DE, Gajardo G, Mora ML (2010) Mechanisms and practical considerations involved in plant growth promotion by Rhizobacteria. J Soil Sci Plant Nut 10:293–319.

Matassa S, Boon N, Pikaar I, Verstraete W (2016) Microbial protein: future sustainable food supply route with low environmental footprint. Microb Biotechnol 9:568–575.

Meena VS, Maurya B, Verma JP (2014) Does a rhizospheric microorganism enhance K + availability in agricultural soils? Microbiol Res 169:337–347.

Menéndez E, Pérez-Yépez J, Hernández M, Rodríguez-Pérez A, Velázquez E, León-Barrios M (2020) Plant growth promotion abilities of phylogenetically diverse Mesorhizobium strains: effect in the root colonization and development of tomato seedlings. Microorganisms 8:412.

Mengel K, Kirkby EA (2001) Principles of Plant Nutrition, 5th edn. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht

Mumtaz MZ, Ahmad M, Jamil M, Hussain T (2017) Zinc solubilizing Bacillus spp. potential candidates for biofortification in maize. Microbiol Res 202:51–60.

Murphy BR, Doohan FM, Hodkinson TR (2018) From concept to commerce: developing a successful fungal endophyte inoculant for agricultural crops. J Fungi 4:24.

Nadarajah KK (2017) Rhizobium in rice yield and growth enhancement. In: Hansen AP, Choudhary DK, Agrawal PK, Varma A (eds) Rhizobium biology and biotechnology. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 83–103

Nobbe F, Hiltner L (1896) U.S. patent 570 813. Inoculation of the soil for cultivating leguminous plants

Nosheen S, Ajmal I, Song Y (2021) Microbes as biofertilizers, a potential approach for sustainable crop production. Sustainability 13:1868.

O’Hara GW, Howieson JG, Graham PH (2002) Chap. 14, nitrogen fixation and agricultural practice. In: Leigh GJ (ed) Nitrogen fixation at the millennium. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, pp 391–420

Olander LP, Vitousek PM (2000) Regulation of soil phosphatase and chitinase activity by N and P availability. Biogeochemistry 49:175–190.

Olivares FL, Aguiar NO, Rosa RCC, Canellas LP (2015) Substrate biofortification in combination with foliar sprays of plant growth promoting bacteria and humic substances boosts production of organic tomatoes. Sci Hortic 183:100–108.

Paliya S, Mandpe A, Kumar S, Kumar MS (2019) Enhanced nodulation and higher germination using sludge ash as a carrier for biofertilizer production. J Environ Manag 250:109523.

Parera CA, Cantliffe DJ (1994) Presowing seed priming. Hortic Rev 16:109–141

Parnell JJ, Berka R, Young HA, Sturino JM, Kang Y, Barnhart DM, DiLeo MV (2016) From the lab to the farm: an industrial perspective of plant beneficial microorganisms. Front Plant Sci 7:1110.

Patel D, Goswami D (2020) Phosphorus solubilization and mobilization: mechanisms, current developments, and future challenge. In: Yadav AN, Rastegari AA, Yadav N, Kour D (eds) Advances in plant microbiome and sustainable agriculture. Springer, Singapore, pp 1–20

Phiromtan M, Mala T, Srinives P (2013) Effect of various carriers and storage temperatures on survival of Azotobacter vinelandii NDD-CK-1 in powder inoculant. Mod Appl Sci 7:81–89.

Pindi PK, Satyanarayana SDV (2012) Liquid microbial consortium—a potential tool for sustainable soil health. J Biofertilizers Biopestic 3:1000124.

Pokorna D, Zabranska J (2015) Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria in environmental technology. Biotechnol Adv 33:1246–1259.

Pourbabaee AA, Koohbori Dinekaboodi S, Seyed Hosseini HM, Alikhani HA, Emami S (2020) Potential application of selected sulfur-oxidizing bacteria and different sources of sulfur in plant growth promotion under different moisture conditions. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 51:735–745.

Pramanik P, Goswami AJ, Ghosh S, Kalita C (2019) An indigenous strain of potassium-solubilizing bacteria Bacillus pseudomycoides enhanced potassium uptake in tea plants by increasing potassium availability in the mica waste-treated soil of North-east India. J Appl Microbiol 126:215–222.

Qiu Z, Egidi E, Liu H, Kaur S, Singh BK (2019) New frontiers in agriculture productivity: optimised microbial inoculants and in situ microbiome engineering. Biotechnol Adv 37:107371.

Raffi MM, Charyulu PBBN (2021) Azospirillum-biofertilizer for sustainable cereal crop production: current status. Recent developments in applied microbiology and biochemistry. Academic Press, pp 193–209

Rai MK (2006) Handbook of microbial biofertilizers. Haworth press, Binghamton, New York

Raimi AR, Ezeokoli OT, Adeleke RA (2019) High-throughput sequence analysis of bacterial communities in commercial biofertiliser products marketed in South Africa: an independent snapshot quality assessment. 3 Biotech 9:108.

Raimi A, Roopnarain A, Adeleke R (2021) Biofertilizer production in Africa: current status, factors impeding adoption and strategies for success. Sci Afr 11:e00694.

Ramachandran VK, East AK, Karunakaran R, Downie JA, Poole PS (2011) Adaptation of Rhizobium leguminosarum to pea, alfalfa and sugar beet rhizospheres investigated by comparative transcriptomics. Genome Biol 12:R106.

Rani A, Singh R, Kumar P, Shukla G (2017) Pros and cons of fungicides: an overview. Int J Eng Sci Res Technol 6:112–117.

Rasmussen PU, Bennett AE, Tack AJM (2020) The impact of elevated temperature and drought on the ecology and evolution of plant–soil microbe interactions. J Ecol 108:337–352.

Rebah FB, Tyagi RD, Prevost D (2002) Wastewater sludge as a substrate for growth and carrier for rhizobia, the effect of storage conditions on survival of Sinorhizobium meliloti. Bioresour Technol 83:145–151.

Riaz U, Mehdi SM, Iqbal S, Khalid HI, Qadir AA, Anum W, Ahmad M, Murtaza G (2020) Bio-fertilizers: eco-friendly approach for plant and soil environment. In: Hakeem KR, Bhat RA, Qadri H (eds) Bioremediation and biotechnology. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 189–213

Rivera-Cruz MC, Narcía AT, Ballona GC, Kohler J, Caravaca F, Roldán A (2008) Poultry manure and banana waste are effective biofertilizer carriers for promoting plant growth and soil sustainability in banana crops. Soil Biol Biochem 40:3092–3095.

Rodríguez H, Fraga R (1999) Phosphate solubilizing bacteria and their role in plant growth promotion. Biotechnol Adv 17:319–339.

Roslan MAM, Zulkifli NN, Sobri ZM, Zuan ATK, Cheak SC, Abdul Rahman NA (2020) Seed biopriming with P- and K-solubilizing Enterobacter hormaechei sp. improves the early vegetative growth and the P and K uptake of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) seedling. PLoS One 15:e0232860.

Roychowdhury D, Paul M, Banerjee SK (2015) Isolation identification and characterization of phosphate solubilizing bacteria from soil and the production of biofertilizer. Int J Curr Microbiol Appl Sci 4:808–815

Saha S, Mina BL, Gopinath KA, Kundu S, Gupta HS (2008) Relative changes in phosphatase activities as influenced by source and application rate of organic composts in field crops. Bioresour Technol 99:1750–1757.

Saha B, Saha S, Das A, Bhattacharyya PK, Basak N, Sinha AK, Poddar P (2017) Biological nitrogen fixation for sustainable agriculture. In: Meena VS, Mishra PK, Bisht JK, Pattanayak A (eds) Agriculturally important microbes for sustainable agriculture. Springer, Singapore, pp 81–128

Sahu PK, Gupta A, Singh M, Mehrotra P, Brahmaprakash GP (2018) Bioformulation and fluid bed drying: a new approach towards an improved biofertilizer formulation. In: Sengar RS, Singh A (eds) Eco-friendly agro-biological techniques for enhancing crop productivity. Springer, Singapore, pp 47–62

Saidi S, Cherif-Silini H, Chenari Bouket A, Silini A, Eshelli M, Luptakova L, Alenezi FN, Belbahri L (2021) Improvement of Medicago sativa crops productivity by the co-inoculation of Sinorhizobium meliloti–Actinobacteria under salt stress. Curr Microbiol 78:1344–1357.

Samundeeshwari B, Srilakshmi L, Sripriya P (2021) Screening and characterization of chitinase producing epiphytic bacterium Pseudomonas composti PCPSK2 associated with Chaetomorpha sp. Indian Hydrobiol 20:143–150

Santos MS, Nogueira MA, Hungria M (2019) Microbial inoculants: reviewing the past, discussing the present and previewing an outstanding future for the use of beneficial bacteria in agriculture. AMB Express 9:205.

Sekhar M, Riotte J, Ruiz L, Jouquet P, Braun JJ (2016) Influences of climate and agriculture on water and biogeochemical cycles: Kabini critical zone observatory. Proc Indian Natl Sci Acad 82:833–846

Sethi SK, Adhikary SP (2012) Cost effective pilot scale production of biofertilizer using Rhizobium and Azotobacter. Afr J Biotechnol 11:13490–13493

Sharafzadeh S, Ordookhani K (2011) Organic and bio fertilizers as a good substitute for inorganic fertilizers in medicinal plants farming. Aust J Basic Appl Sci 5:1330–1333

Shravani K, Triveni S, Latha PC, Chari DK (2019) Evaluation of shelf life and quality of carrier and liquid based biofertilizers. Int J Microbiol Res 11:1598–1601

Sijilmassi B, Filali-Maltouf A, Boulahyaoui H, Kricha A, Boubekri K, Udupa S, Kumar S, Amri A (2020) Assessment of genetic diversity and symbiotic efficiency of selected rhizobia strains nodulating lentil (Lens culinaris Medik.). Plants 10:15.

Singh R, Arora NK (2016) Bacterial formulations and delivery systems against pests in sustainable agro-food production. Food Sci 1:1–11

Smidsrød O, Skjåk-Braek G (1990) Alginate as immobilization matrix for cells. Trends Biotechnol 8:71–78.

Smith RS (1992) Legume inoculant formulation and application. Can J Microbiol 38:485–492.

Smith DL, Subramanian S, Lamont JR, Bywater-Ekegärd M (2015) Signaling in the phytomicrobiome: breadth and potential. Front Plant Sci 6:709.

Sorokin DY, Kuenen JG (2005) Haloalkaliphilic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria in soda lakes. FEMS Microbiol Rev 29:685–702.

Soumare A, Diedhiou AG, Thuita M, Hafidi M, Ouhdouch Y, Gopalakrishnan S, Kouisni L (2020) Exploiting biological nitrogen fixation: a route towards a sustainable agriculture. Plants 9:1011.

Srilakshmi L, Samundeeshwari B, Sripriya P (2021) Isolation and characterization of L-asparaginase producing endophytic bacterium Bacillus haynesii PCPSK1 derived from Gracilaria sp. Indian Hydrobiol 20:121–128

Srivastava R, Aragno M, Sharma AK (2010) Cow dung extract: a medium for the growth of pseudomonads enhancing their efficiency as biofertilizer and biocontrol agent in rice. Indian J Microbiol 50:349–354.

Stephens JHG, Rask HM (2000) Inoculant production and formulation. Field Crops Res 65:249–258.

Sudheer S, Bai RG, Usmani Z, Sharma M (2020) Insights on engineered microbes in sustainable agriculture: biotechnological developments and future prospects. Curr Genomics 21:321–333.

Suhag M (2016) Potential of biofertilizers to replace chemical fertilizers. Int Adv Res J Sci Eng Technol 3:163–167

Sumbul A, Ansari RA, Rizvi R, Mahmood I (2020) Azotobacter: a potential bio-fertilizer for soil and plant health management. Saudi J Biol Sci 27:3634–3640.

Sun B, Gu L, Bao L, Zhang S, Wei Y, Bai Z, Zhuang G, Zhuang X (2020) Application of biofertilizer containing Bacillus subtilis reduced the nitrogen loss in agricultural soil. Soil Biol Biochem 148:107911.

Suthar H, Hingurao K, Vaghashiya J, Parmar J (2017) Fermentation: a process for biofertilizer production. In: Panpatte DG, Jhala YK, Vyas RV, Shelat HN (eds) Microorganisms for green revolution. Springer, Singapore, pp 229–252

Tabassam T, Sultan T, Akhtar ME, Hassan MM, Ali A (2015) Suitability of different formulated carriers for sustaining microbial shelf life. Pak J Agric Res 28:143–151

Tao C, Li R, Xiong W, Shen Z, Liu S, Wang B, Ruan Y, Geisen S, Shen Q, Kowalchuk GA (2020) Bio-organic fertilizers stimulate indigenous soil Pseudomonas populations to enhance plant disease suppression. Microbiome 8:137.

Tavallali V, Rahemi M, Eshghi S, Kholdebarin B, Ramezanian A (2010) Zinc alleviates salt stress and increases antioxidant enzyme activity in the leaves of pistachio (Pistacia vera L. ‘Badami’) seedlings. Turk J Agric 34:349–359.

Terra LA, de Soares CP, Meneses CHSG, Tadra Sfeir MZ, de Souza EM, Silveira V, Vidal MS, Baldani JI, Schwab S (2020) Transcriptome and proteome profiles of the diazotroph Nitrospirillum amazonense strain CBAmC in response to the sugarcane apoplast fluid. Plant Soil 451:145–168.

Thirumal G, Reddy RS, Triveni S, Damodarachari K, Bhavya K (2017) Evaluate the shelf life of Rhizobium carrier based biofertilizer stored at different temperatures at different intervals. Int J Curr Microbiol Appl Sci 6:753–759.

Thomas L, Singh I (2019) Microbial biofertilizers: types and applications. In: Giri B, Prasad R, Wu Q-S, Varma A (eds) Biofertilizers for sustainable agriculture and environment. Springer International Publishing, Cham, pp 109–135

Tian B, Yang J, Zhang KQ (2007) Bacteria used in the biological control of plant-parasitic nematodes: populations, mechanisms of action, and future prospects. FEMS Microbiol Ecol 61:197–213.

Tian J, Ge F, Zhang D, Deng S, Liu X (2021) Roles of phosphate solubilizing microorganisms from managing soil phosphorus deficiency to mediating biogeochemical P cycle. Biology 10:158.

Timmusk S, Behers L, Muthoni J, Muraya A, Aronsson AC (2017) Perspectives and challenges of microbial application for crop improvement. Front Plant Sci.

Uchida R (2000) Chap. 3, essential nutrients for plant growth: nutrient functions and deficiency symptoms. In: Silva JA, Uchida R (eds) Plant nutrient management in Hawaii’s soils, approaches for tropical and subtropical agriculture. University of Hawaii at Manoa, Cham, pp 31–55

Vaid SK, Kumar B, Sharma A, Shukla AK, Srivastava PC (2014) Effect of zinc solubilizing bacteria on growth promotion and zinc nutrition of rice. J Soil Sci Plant Nutr 14:889–910

VanderGheynst JS, Scher H, Guo HY (2006) Design of formulations for improved biological control agent viability and sequestration during storage. Ind Biotechnol 2:213–219.

VanderGheynst JS, Scher H, Guo HY, Schultz DL (2007) Water-in-oil emulsions that improve the storage and delivery of the biolarvacide Lagenidium giganteum. Biocontrol 52:207–229.

Vessey JK (2003) Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria as biofertilizers. Plant Soil 255:571–586.

Vidyalakshmi R, Paranthaman R, Bhakyaraj R (2009) Sulphur oxidizing bacteria and pulse nutrition- a review. World J Agric Sci 5:270–278

Vimal SR, Singh JS (2020) Chap. 11. Microbial services to nurture plant health under stressed soils. In: Vimal SR, Singh JS (eds) Microbial services in restoration ecology. Elsevier, pp 157–179

Wang H, Liu S, Zhai L, Zhang J, Ren T, Fan B, Liu H (2015) Preparation and utilization of phosphate biofertilizers using agricultural waste. J Integr Agric 14:158–167.

Wolde-meskel E, van Heerwaarden J, Abdulkadir B, Kassa S, Aliyi I, Degefu T, Wakweya K, Kanampiu F, Giller KE (2018) Additive yield response of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) to Rhizobium inoculation and phosphorus fertilizer across smallholder farms in Ethiopia. Agric Ecosyst Environ 261:144–152.

Xu Z, Zhou G (2004) Research advance in nitrogen metabolism of plant and its environmental regulation. J Appl Ecol 15:511–516

Yadav AK, Chandra K (2014) Mass production and quality control of microbial inoculants. Proc Indian Natl Sci Acad 80:483–489

Yardin MR, Kennedy IR, Thies JE (2000) Development of high quality carrier materials for field delivery of key microorganisms used as bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides. Radiat Phys Chem 57:565–568.

Yaro RN, Mahama AR, Kugbe JX, Berdjour A (2021) Response of peanut varieties to phosphorus and Rhizobium inoculant rates on Haplic Lixisols of Guinea Savanna Zone of Ghana. Front Sustain Food Syst 5:616033.

You M, Fang S, MacDonald J, Xu J, Yuan Z-C (2020) Isolation and characterization of Burkholderia cenocepacia CR318, a phosphate solubilizing bacterium promoting corn growth. Microbiol Res 233:126395.

Zagorchev L, Seal CE, Kranner I, Odjakova M (2013) A central role for thiols in plant tolerance to abiotic stress. Int J Mol Sci 14:7405–7432.

Zhao Y, Zhang M, Yang W, Di HJ, Ma L, Liu W, Li B (2019) Effects of microbial inoculants on phosphorus and potassium availability, bacterial community composition, and chili pepper growth in a calcareous soil: a greenhouse study. J Soils Sediments 19:3597–3607.



The authors would like to thank the institution for the support provided.

Author Information

Jacob Sharon Maria
Department of Plant Biology and Plant Biotechnology, Presidency College (Autonomous), Chennai, India

Paranthaman Sripriya
Department of Plant Biology and Plant Biotechnology, Presidency College (Autonomous), Chennai, India