Biofertilizers are substances that contain microbes, which helps in promoting the growth of plants and trees by increasing the supply of essential nutrients to the plants. It comprises living organisms which include mycorrhizal fungi, blue-green algae, and bacteria. Mycorrhizal fungi preferentially withdraw minerals from organic matter for the plant whereas cyanobacteria are characterized by the property of nitrogen fixation.
Components of Biofertilizers :-
● Bio Compost : It is eco-friendly and is produced from waste products coming from the sugar industry. It also includes bacteria, fungi, and some plants.
● Tricho-Card : This eco-friendly non-pathogenic product is useful for many crops and plants, as it plays the role of a productive destroyer against the items that are harmful to the crop.
● Azotobacter : It plays an important role in atmospheric nitrogen fixation and protects the plant roots from pathogens in the soil.
● Phosphorus : To settle the exact level of need for nitrogen for a plant, and to determine the nitrogen level of the soil, phosphorus fertilizers are very helpful.
● Vermicompost : Known for quickly improving soil fertility, these are probably the most eco-friendly fertilizers that contain vitamins, sulphur, hormones, organic carbon, and antibiotics required for the growth of the plant.
Applications of Biofertilizers :-
● Seedling root dip
This method is applicable to rice crops. The seedlings are planted in the bed of water for 8-10 hours.
● Seed Treatment
The seeds are dipped in a mixture of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers. These seeds are then dried and sown as soon as possible.
● Soil Treatment
The biofertilizers along with the compost fertilizers are mixed and kept for one night. This mixture is then spread on the soil where the seeds have to be sown.
Importance of Biofertilizers
● Biofertilizers improve the soil texture and yield of plants.
● They do not allow pathogens to flourish.
● They are eco-friendly and cost-effective.
● Biofertilizers protect the environment from pollutants since they are natural fertilizers. ● They destroy many harmful substances present in the soil that can cause plant diseases.
● Biofertilizers are proved to be effective even under semi-arid conditions.
Precautions to take while using Biofertilizers :-
● Biofertilizer packets need to be stored in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight and heat.
● Right combinations of biofertilizers have to be used.
● As Rhizobium is crop specific, one should use it for the specified crop only. ● Other chemicals should not be mixed with the biofertilizers.
● While purchasing one should ensure that each packet is provided with necessary information like name of the product, name of the crop for which intended, name and address of the manufacturer, date of manufacture, date of expiry, batch number and instructions for use.
● The packet has to be used before its expiry, only for the specified crop and by the recommended method of application.
● Biofertilizers are live product and require care in the storage
● Both nitrogenous and phosphatic biofertilizers are to be used to get the best results. ● It is important to use biofertilizers along with chemical fertilizers and organic manures. Biofertilizers are not a replacement of fertilizers but can supplement plant nutrient requirements.
Biopesticide is a biological substance or organism that damages, kills, or repels organisms seen as pests. Biological pest management intervention involves predatory, parasitic, or chemical relationships.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) :-
● Biopesticides generally perform particularly well in IPM systems.
● With their lower toxicity profile, they are compatible with the use of classical biological control agents such as predatory mites and lady beetles.
● Because they often are most effective at low pest pressures, they are well suited to be used in combination with scouting and monitoring activities, which detect pest problems before they are out of control.
● As well, IPM programs which include the rotation of biopesticides with conventional chemical pesticides can reduce reliance on single chemistries and delay the development of resistance within pest populations.
Benefits of Biopesticides :-
1. Enhanced crop quality and shelf life
2. Resistance management
3. Maintaining beneficial populations
4. Residue management
5. Labour and harvest flexibility
6. Worker safety
7. Environmental safety