Plants have a number of relationships with fungi, bacteria, and algae, the most common of which are with mycorrhiza, rhizobium, and cyanophyceae. These are known to deliver a number of benefits including plant nutrition, disease resistance, and tolerance to adverse soil and climatic conditions. These techniques have proved to be successful biofertilizers that form a health relationship with the roots.
Biofertilizers will help solve such problems as increased salinity of the soil and chemical run-offs from the agricultural fields. Thus, biofertilizers are important if we are to ensure a healthy future for the generations to come.
These fungi grow on the roots of these plants. In fact, seedlings that have mycorrhizal fungi growing on their roots survive better after transplantation and grow faster. The fungal symbiont gets shelter and food from the plant which, in turn, acquires an array of benefits such as better uptake of phosphorus, salinity and drought tolerance, maintenance of water balance, and overall increase in plant growth and development.
While selecting fungi, the right fungi have to be matched with the plant. There are specific fungi for vegetables, fodder crops, flowers, trees, etc.
Mycorrhizal fungi can increase the yield of a plot of land by 30%-40%. It can absorb phosphorus from the soil and pass it on to the plant. Mycorrhizal plants show higher tolerance to high soil temperatures, various soil- and root-borne pathogens, and heavy metal toxicity.
Certain blue-green algae live intimately with other organisms in a symbiotic relationship. Some are associated with the fungi in form of lichens. The ability of blue-green algae tophotosynthesize food and fix atmospheric nitrogen accounts for their symbiotic associations and also for their presence in paddy fields.
Blue-green algae are of immense economic value as they add organic matter to the soil and increase soil fertility. Barren alkaline lands in India have been reclaimed and made productive by inducing the proper growth of certain blue-green algae.
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