Nowadays, insensitive agricultural practices have deteriorated the soil fertility and if these practices continue in the future also then according to the statistics 30% of the total world soil will turn into degraded land by 2020. And this can be a threat to crop production and food security in the future!
So, it’s better to implement safe and environment-friendly practices to restore the degraded soil. Bacterial and fungal inocula have the potential to restore the fertility of the degraded land through various processes. These microbes have the ability to avail necessary nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and iron to the crop plants.
One of the important friendly fungi is Arbuscular Mycorrhizal and here are some of its benefits to the plants:
• AM fungi enhance P availability to plants by mobilizing the nutrient through its network of hyphae.
• AM inoculation has shown to improve crop yield by 15-25 %.
• AM increases the plant growth and health by improving the availability of trace elements such as zinc, copper, and iron.
• It enhances the microbial population near the roots and enhances the uptake of applied fertilizer such as nitrogen.
• It reduces symptoms incited by disease-producing bacteria, fungi, and virus as well as it controls nematodes.
Method of application:
• AM should be applied near the seeds and if possible it should be applied before sowing of seeds especially with transplanted crops.
• 4-5Kg AM fungi inoculant is recommended for one acre but this dose varies with crops.
• For transplanted crops like chilli, tomato, brinjal, and rice it is spread over the nursery bed first and then sowing is done.
• AM fungi can be mixed with soil @ 50g/ plant while preparing nursery and it can be applied along with organic manure like compost.
• Do not expose the culture to sunlight and high temperature.
• Do not mix chemical fertilizers.
• Do not rub the culture with hands.
• Store it in the refrigerator and if not possible, dig a small pit under the shade of the tree and store the culture in a pit, cover with mud and spray water so that it remains in cool condition.
Reference: Head, Division of Microbiologym I.A.R.I., New Delhi