Agriculture industry seizes on beneficial fungi and bacteria to help thwart disease and increase productivity. Smarter use of the microbes that live in and around crops could pay huge dividends for farmers in the near future.
Microbial diversity is an important component of the overall global biological diversity. Recent technological advances in exploring microbial diversity have revealed that a large proportion of microorganisms. Microbes in terrestrial environments are important catalysts of global carbon and nitrogen cycles, including the production and consumption of greenhouse gases in soil. Some microbes produce the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) while decomposing organic matter in soil.
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Several microbial applications are widely known in solving major agricultural (i.e., crop productivity, plant health protection, and soil health maintenance) and environmental issues (i.e., bioremediation of soil and water from organic and inorganic pollutants).
Agricultural productivity needs to be increased without perpetuating any related ecological harm. Microbes play a key role in plant growth promotion by protecting plants from deleterious effects such as drought, salinity, pests and pathogens. Pseudomonas and Bacillus, which enhance plant growth through various mechanisms, are common inhabitants of the rhizosphere and phyllosphere.
Mycorrhiza, for instance, is a fungus capable of forming an association with the vast majority of land plants. When that happens, that symbiotic relationship helps to expand uptake by the plant's root system by as much as 90 percent, helping the plant soak up water and nutrients from much deeper in the soil. The association also helps activate genes and physiological changes in the plant to help them survive drought conditions, Beattie said. Other microbes can boost a plant's resistance to pests.