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Role of bacterial biofertilizers in agriculture and forestry

Paula García-Fraile Esther Menéndez Raúl Rivas

*Corresponding author: Paula García-Fraile paulagf81@usal.es


Many rhizospheric bacterial strains possess plant growth-promoting mechanisms. These bacteria can be applied as biofertilizers in agriculture and forestry, enhancing crop yields. Bacterial biofertilizers can improve plant growth through several different mechanisms: (i) the synthesis of plant nutrients or phytohormones, which can be absorbed by plants, (ii) the mobilization of soil compounds, making them available for the plant to be used as nutrients, (iii) the protection of plants under stressful conditions, thereby counteracting the negative impacts of stress, or (iv) defense against plant pathogens, reducing plant diseases or death. Several plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) have been used worldwide for many years as biofertilizers, contributing to increasing crop yields and soil fertility and hence having the potential to contribute to more sustainable agriculture and forestry. The technologies for the production and application of bacterial inocula are under constant development and improvement and the bacterial-based biofertilizer market is growing steadily. Nevertheless, the production and application of these products is heterogeneous among the different countries in the world. This review summarizes the main bacterial mechanisms for improving crop yields, reviews the existing technologies for the manufacture and application of beneficial bacteria in the field, and recapitulates the status of the microbe-based inoculants in World Markets.

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