Hidden Health Treasures of Pear

(By Iqra Naseer, Dr. Shahid Mahmood, Dr. Ghulam Mueen-ud-din)

(Institute of Food Science and Nutrition, UOS)

Per capita consumption of fruit and vegetables in Pakistan is less than 200 g but recommended consumption is 400 g daily for good health. As we know that the famous proverb that ‘Health is wealth’, it reminds us of the importance of good health. The most valuable thing in our life is good health. There are several factors, on which our health depends like food, sleeping habits, mental condition, physical exercise etc. But healthy eating habits are one of the vital parts in achieving good health. Allah has blessed us with so many fruits and vegetables which keeps our body fit and healthy if we take them regularly and in the proper amount. Healthy food is one of the most important parts in leading a healthy life. Healthy food enhances human life and makes him or her lifelong. Here we will discuss health benefits of pear fruit.

Pear fruit is sweet in taste and contains a fibrous/roughages. It is consumed fresh, canned, as juice, and in dried form. Pears have lots of health benefits. Pears are a rich source of water-soluble fiber, contains vitamins A, B1, B2, C, E, folate, and niacin. Pears are rich in minerals like potassium, phosphorous, copper and small amount of calcium, chlorine, magnesium, iron, sulfur and sodium also present. Pears are rich in fibers. As we know that fiber is a necessary element of a healthy diet. Fiber helps in digestion and prevents constipation, pears control blood sugar level, and it promotes regularity and helps in lowering cholesterol and weight loss. Fiber content binds to carcinogenic cells in body and then removes them and helps in preventing colon cancer. Pears are the source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is necessary for maintaining a healthy metabolism, repairing tissues, protects DNA, protection against infections, healing of cuts and bruises etc. Pears are also the source of antioxidants. The peel of pear contains important phytonutrients, like polyphenols, phenolic acids and flavonoids that can help ward off disease formation. Pears help in improving heart health. Pears reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks and strokes. This is due to the presence of antioxidant that keeps arteries of heart clear. Anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogen glutathione helps in controlling high blood pressure and stroke. And pectin fiber which is present in pears is much useful in lowering cholesterol level and pectin give a mild laxative effect so prevents constipation and regulate bowel movement. According to a research, some flavonoids in fruits like pears can improve insulin sensitivity, which helps in controlling diabetes and treating diabetes. Vitamin K and Boron are also present in pears which help in maintaining the skeletal or bone health and prevents from osteoporosis. Our body cells are damaged due to presence of free radicals, Vitamin C and Vitamin K present in pears fights against free radicals. Vitamin C and Copper acts as antioxidants and so they help in boosting immune system of our body and help to fight against many diseases. Pears give cooling effect to our body, so pears help in curing fever easily. Folate is an essential mineral present in pears which is required for fetus health. Pears are free of cholesterol and fats.

All fruits provide us energy and so pears can also provide us with a quick boost of energy. Glucose and fructose are present in pears in large amount that are used by body which enhance physical performance of our body. Usually some fruits give allergic reactions to infants, but pears are one of the few fruits which have very low chance of allergic reactions and so can be given to infants. Fibers present in pears keeps our skin smooth, soft and prevents from damage. It also helps to treat acne, pimples and skin infections due to large amount of minerals and vitamins present in it. Pears also benefit our hair. Pears nourish, scalp, feed hair roots and keeps the hair follicles hydrated. Pear juice aids in preventing throat problems, usually in summer season drinking pear juice every morning and night helps to cool down body. And it is necessary for proper functioning of respiratory organs. There are so many products of pears which we can eat or drink like preserved or canned pears, pear juice, pear cider, pear jam, pear fruit powder, pears baby food, pear puree, caramelized pears, pear cobbler, pear sauce, pear bars cookies, pear pie etc. Pear baby food is one of the healthiest and delicious food which we can give to babies.

On an average 1 medium-sized pear fruit contains only 100 calories and provides you about 6 grams of fibers which is 24% of the daily value of fiber, 10% daily value of vitamin C, 5% daily value of vitamin B6, 5% daily value of potassium and 3% of recommended magnesium, and 9.5% of our daily recommended intake of copper.

 

So, according to all the above discussion about health benefits of pears, we may conclude that we should eat a pear every day; it may also keep the doctor away because pear is a source of so many beneficial nutrients. It’s a rich source of fiber, vitamin C, B, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium and much more. Some studies show that we should eat approximately 2 cups of fruit per day; one medium-sized pear is approximately one cup, so you are halfway there with just one pear. Pears are a gift of Allah. In short, pear is a part of the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.

Seeds or Plants?

Seeds or Plants?

We’re fans of starting plants from seed, in part because growing from seed is one of the miracles of gardening. Every seed is a plant-in-waiting, a tiny package of roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and more seeds. Although they aren’t foolproof, seeds want to sprout and grow.

Starting from seed isn’t required, however. Don’t feel like a second-class gardener if you decide to begin with plants grown by someone else. Most garden centers offer the basic culinary herbs basil, thyme, cilantro, chive, oregano, parsley, dill, mint, rosemary, and sage— and perhaps a modest selection of less popular plants. We can’t debate the fact that buying plants is simpler, it saves you time, and the plants reach harvest stage sooner.

There is one plant you cannot grow from seed  tarragon. It rarely sets seed; all plants are propagated from stem cuttings or root divisions. Caveat emptor (buyer beware): French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) has the herbal flavor you want, while Russian tarragon (A. dracunculus var. indora formerly A. dracunculoides) has more medicinal uses.

It’s Seed Time

For us, each garden season includes the past and the future. We always purchase herbs we’ve grown before — herbs that we know we like and that will thrive in our gardens. Seed for ‘Sweet Genovese’ basil is an annual purchase, as is seed for broadleaf (Italian) parsley (Petroselinum crispum var. latifolium). But we also try new things each year — a new cultivar or an herb we haven’t grown before.

Planning your seed purchases

No one has time or room to grow everything, so ask yourself the following questions in order to rein in your purchases:

✓ Will I use it?

You can grow herbs for their own sake — with no thought of using them — but if you’re the practical sort, be realistic about what herbs you’ll use.

✓ Will it grow in my garden?

Every herb has peculiar needs. Basil will be a bust if your garden is a large pot on a cool, shady patio; angelica won’t survive in southern Florida’s heat. Be sure to check our plant encyclopedia in the appendix to see whether you have the conditions necessary for the herbs you’d like to grow.

✓ Is it too much trouble?

The majority of herbs are like good friends: cooperative, undemanding, tolerant, even forgiving. But all herbs require some care. Marsh mallow requires lots of moisture — do you have time for watering? Do you have time to start chive seeds in January so that you’ll have plants in June?

26 Best Perennial Flowers for Your Garden

Perennials are flowers or plants that live for more than two years and return year after year blooming on their own. This is due to the flowers far-reaching roots which allow for better access to nutrients meaning a longer lifespan and less upkeep for you!

As if their easy-to-grow nature didn’t just bump them up to the top of your must-have list, these flowers also tend to be low maintenance, have the ability to withstand harsh climates and come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Perennial flowers are also a great option if you’re looking to add vertical interest to your garden since they are known for building on their growth year after year.

Although a strong contender, perennials aren’t the only flower on the market. Plants and flowers are commonly categorized as either annual, biennial or perennial and knowing the difference between these common terms will help you make a more educated selection for your garden.


What is The Difference Between Annual and Perennial?

Annual plants are those that live for only one growing season before producing seeds and dying. Biennial plants are those that live for two growing seasons and perennial plants are those that live for more than two years.

In general, annual and biennial plants will require more upkeep from you. Not to mention, at the end of their growing seasons you’ll have to pull them from your garden and start anew.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy full foliage or beautiful blooms, perennials are just what you should consider to keep your garden sustainably beautiful for years to come. Find the best flowers for your needs by scrolling through our handy guide below categorized by the sun needs of each flower. Planting perennials where they are most likely to thrive will make it easier for you to grow a successful and beautiful garden.


Best Perennials For Sun

Give the sunny spots in your garden the splash of color they deserve. Scroll through our list of the best perennials for the sun below. With gardening information and helpful facts, you’ll have the right flower picked out in no time at all.

1. Blanket Flower 

The blanket flower is best known for it’s long seasonal bloom and daisy-like flowers that can be found in rich shades of orange, wine red and yellow. Petals have a tubular shape and are frilled at the edges.

best perennials for sun

2. Pineapple Sage 

Known for it’s attractive pineapple scent, this seasonal treat features red tubular flowers and leafy stems that thrive in full sunlight and well-drained soil.

pineapple sage best perennial

3. May Night Sage 

This showy perennial grows in tall spikes of indigo flowers with lush green foliage. The flower also has an outstanding cold hardiness and is the perfect fit if you live in cooler climates.

best perennial flowers

4. Tickseed

This perennial flower is prized for its long bloom period where you can find bright yellow petals with a dark brown center. Tickseed is known as one of the easiest-to-grow perennials and stands anywhere between 1-2 feet tall.

best perennial flowers for sun

5. Black-eyed Susan

A few black-eyed susans will add a vast amount of color to any garden. These perennials provide bright yellow and orange blossoms and also make for great cut flowers.

best perennials black eyed susan

6. Coneflower

This perennial flower is commonly mistaken for a daisy because of it’s bright bloom in a variety of colors including pink, purple, red and white. Coneflowers are relatively drought-tolerant, good for cut flowers and also invite songbirds where they are planted.

best perennials for sun coneflower

7. Daylily

The daylily is oftentimes referred to as “the perfect perennial” because of its vibrant colors and ability to thrive in both frost-like climates as well as the heat. The beautiful flowers are short lived with a lifespan of only one day, although a mature daylily can produce over 200-400 blooms per month. With a shorter blooming season, this perennial would be a nice surprise blossom in any garden.

daylily best perennials for sun

8. Peony

One of the more beautiful perennials, peonies offer a gorgeous bloom in springtime with colors including pink, red, white and yellow. Peonies are a popular cut flower, make for gorgeous bouquets and have a wonderful fragrance. Fun fact: Some peonies have been known to live over 100 years old.

peony best perennials for sun

9. Russian sage

This tall and airy perennial grows in spike-like clusters that feature a lavender-blue color and offer a more fragrant foliage. This heat-loving and drought resistant plant is superb for any garden.

best perennial flowers

10. Sea Holly

Noted for its silvery-blue bracts, the sea holly features thistle-like blooms that are great for flower bouquets. This perennial is sure to add some interest to any garden, backyard or flower bouquet.

sea holly best perennial flowers

11. Stonecrop

This perennial is commonly known by a few names including stonecrop, orpine or live-forever. It typically grows upright with branched stems featuring small star-like flowers in hues of pink to reddish purple.

best perennial flowers

12. Yarrow 

The Yarrow wildflower is loved for providing a vast amount of blooms featuring tightly-packed clusters of small flowers. These hardy perennials blossom in summertime and feature a variety of colors including mustard yellow, pink and red.

yarrow best perennials

13. Daffodils

Known as one of the most recognizable perennials and a sure sign that spring is here, daffodils have attractive flowers with six outer petals and a trumpet or cup-shaped center. They thrive in full sun and grow anywhere between 1-1.5 feet tall.

perennials for sun

14. Forget-me-not

You won’t be able to forget this perennial flower with blossoms that feature five baby blue petals with yellow centers. Forget-me-nots can also be found in pink and white colors, although the baby blue is the most favored.

best perennial flowers

15. Catmint

The lavender flowers of this drought-tolerant perennial are found in violet and white hues. Blooms grow in a spike-like fashion with abundant foliage that make for attractive hedges.

best perennials

best perennials for shade

Best Perennials for Shade

Looking for a flower that will thrive in the shady areas of your garden? Browse our list of  shade-loving perennials to find the best solution for you!

16. False Goat’s Beard

Astilbe are shade-loving perennials that feature feathery, plume-like flowers in a handful of colors including pink, red and white. The blossoms rise above the flowers fern-like foliage and will surely make a statement in your garden.

false goats beard best perennials

17. Bleeding Heart

Once you get a look at this perennial you’ll understand its common name. The heart-shaped flowers that bloom in hues of pink or white will bring welcomed attention to any garden. Bleeding hearts thrive in the shade and are also commonly used for cut flowers

best perennial flowers

18. Bugleweed

Bugleweed prefer the shade and are known for their shiny, dark green leaves and full foliage. Blue-violet flowers can appear anytime from mid to late spring and rise above the foliage when in bloom. This perennial is known for “carpeting” the ground, so be sure to maintain it because this fast spreading perennial is known to take over quickly.  

best perennial flowers for shade

19. Spiked Speedwell

Commonly known as the spiked speedwell, this clump-forming perennial produces a summer bloom of small star-shaped flowers with tall upright stems. They grow in  shades of violet-blue, pink and white and also feature medium green foliage.

spiked speedwell

20. Garden Phlox

The garden phlox is an upright perennial that grows in clumps that bloom between July and September. The flower features five flat-like petals that can be found in a handful of colors including white, lavender, pink rose, red and bicolor.

best perennials for shade

21. Asters

Commonly known as asters, the latin word for “star,” this perennial blooms between late spring and early fall. Its blossoms offer a handful of colors, including white, blue, indigo, violet, red and pink. Pinching in the early summer will increase the yield of flower buds you’ll get and be sure to plant them in a shady area of your garden.

best perennials for shade

22. Toad Lily

This hardy perennial offers flowers that are often mistaken as orchids spotted with hues of blue or purple. The toad lily prefers light shade and it’s late bloom makes this flower the perfect addition for a fall garden.

best perennial flowers for shade

23. Spurge

This perennial grows upright and features bluish-green leaves that are arranged in a spiral along the stems. Atop the stems grow small bushels of yellow or green flowers. These perennials thrive in a Mediterranean-type climate.

best perennials for shade

24. Mums 

Chrysanthemums, also known as “Mums,” bloom in a variety of colors including, blue, green, orange, pink, red and white. This late-season flower delivers color and also makes for great cut flowers and beautiful groundcover.

best perennials for shade

25. Cranesbill

The cranesbill flower is said to be one of the toughest shade-loving perennials due to its ability to withstand heat and drought conditions. The flowers small petals blossom in spring and feature a variety of colors including pink and white among its deep green leaves. Also, makes for great groundcover.

shady perennials

26. Bellflowers

Bellflowers get their common name from the upright bell-shaped flowers they produce among their medium foliage. This perennial comes in a handful of varieties assuring you’ll find the right fit for your gardens needs.

bellflowers best perennial flowers for shade

After browsing through our complete guide, reference the graphic below to easily save, share and utilize for all of your perennial needs.

Finding Flowers that Fit Your Garden

Flowers that Fit Your Garden

Finding Flowers that Fit Your Garden: Modern-day annuals are impressive indeed. They’ve been bred to produce abundant flowers and lush foliage throughout the heart of the growing season. They rush to flowering because their means of reproduction is by seed. And to get there, the flowers must come first. This great output guarantees bountiful garden color and also makes most annuals great for bouquets. By the time fall comes and seeds form (if they do, before frost), the plants are spent and die. By then, though, you should certainly have gotten your money’s worth! Annuals are very gracious guests.

Not surprisingly, a huge range of annuals is on the market, and more annuals arrive every year. Demand is market-driven, innovation pushes on, and the upshot is that you can choose from many, many different annuals — no matter where you live, no matter what growing conditions your garden offers. The variety of annuals allows you to find countless plants that are specific to warm or cool weather.

Some like it hot: Warm weather annuals

Lots of annuals thrive in hot summer weather, tolerating even periods of prolonged drought in style. Many annuals have this preference because their predecessors, or ancestors if you will, originated in warm, tropical climates with long growing seasons. All plant breeders did was capitalize on or preserve these qualities while improving the plants’ appearance or expanding the color range.

Some warm-weather annuals are actually perennial in some regions but are used as annuals in other areas because they’re not hardy there (they don’t survive the winter). For instance, snapdragon can be a perennial in the South but is used as an annual farther North. Some tropical plants are also commonly used for temporary display.

Examples of favorite warm-weather annuals include impatiens, Madagascar periwinkle, and marigolds.

Some annuals like it cool

Some annuals have their origins in areas with colder winters and mild but not blazingly hot summers. Plant breeders have stepped in to improve these plants’ flower production (the more blooms, the merrier!), add new colors, and select for compact plant habit (shapes or forms). The result is a huge range of good, tough plants that even gardeners with shorter growing seasons can count on. Examples of favorite cool-weather annuals include cleome (spider flower), pansy, Johnny jump-ups (a type of viola), trailing lobelia, and calendula (pot marigolds).

In One Of India’s Most Suicide-prone Areas, Whatsapp Is Bringing Hope & Support

For ages, they’ve been fighting a tough battle against a brutal ‘system’. But now, tech-savvy farmers of Maharashtra are sharing best practices, exploring new markets and building infrastructure, all through their phones. What’s more, they are also planning to take their community’s voice to the government.

Amhi vasare vasare, muki upasi vasare,   (We are speechless, hungry calves)
Gaya panhavato amhi, chor kalatat dhar.   (We tend to the cows, while others steal the milk.)
Tapa tapa gham unarato, unarato bhuivar,   (We sweat on the fields all day,)
Moti pikavato amhi, tari upasi lekare.’   (And cultivate pearls, while our children have nothing to eat.)

– Krishna Kalamb, a farmer poet, poured out the anguish of his everyday struggle into these verses. Then one day, when the pain became unbearable, he ended his life.

When untimely rains lashed the country in March, a suburban Mumbaikar tweeted, “Wow! Surprise rain in Mumbai… I am loving it!!”

Elsewhere, in the Yavatmal district of Maharashtra, two farmers—a cotton grower and an onion cultivator—hanged themselves. All that had lain ahead of them was to watch their kids starve or take loans they could never pay back.

In India, 60-70% of the people depend directly or indirectly on agriculture. Yet, farmers constitute 11.2% of all suicides in the country. Long left at the mercy of an insensitive system, farmers in Maharashtra are now taking charge of their own destiny.

On a WhatsApp group, ‘Baliraja’, over a hundred farmers from various villages are seeking and sharing agriculture advice, connecting with experts in various fields and learning new practices.

farmer

 
PHOTO FOR REPRESENTATION PURPOSE ONLY. SOURCE: USF.VC

Baliraja is the brain child of Anil Bandawane, once an engineering student, who has now taken up farming full time. Dissatisfied with the rather impractical ‘Kisaan call centres’, Anil found out a Facebook group named ‘Baliraja’, and brought them together on WhatsApp.

“Most of the farmers in our villages have mobile phones. They use the latest technology in their farming too. But still there are a lot of problems. In our WhatsApp group, we have a few experts too who give us timely solutions,” says Anil.

He, along with Krishnat Patil, owner of a fertiliser firm, advise the group on use of fertilisers and pesticides, and various other farming technologies. Apart from Krishnat, Anil also shared the admin rights with Sujay Kumthekar, Shubham Indhe, Ramdas Shingote, Vaibhav and Vilas Thatod, all with different areas of expertise.

Vilas, for example, is Baliraja’s resident weatherman, while chef Sujay—who hasn’t abandoned the family tradition of farming—recently educated the group about exotic vegetables like broccoli.

On Baliraja, group members can enquire about the market, utility and price of zucchini.
On Baliraja, group members can enquire about the market, utility and price of zucchini.
…or disucss innovations like the milk collecting robot.
…or disucss innovations like the milk collecting robot.

Yunus Khan, works with Akola-based ‘Agri Clinic and Agri Buisness Centre’, which provides agricultural business training. He shares his experience of various visits to agro and dairy exhibitions with the farmers.

Amol Sainwar, founder of NGO HOPE, is a Man Friday, always ready to help with whatever the farmers need most. For instance, the cultivators recently talked about the losses they faced due to unavailability of a warehouse. And now Amol, with the help of his NGO and the farmers, is ready to build one that can serve at least three villages. (You can read more about HOPE here.)

 Amol Sainwar and his NGO are ready to build a warehouse for farmers.
Amol Sainwar and his NGO are ready to build a warehouse for farmers.

Introduction to Moringa oleifera (Sohanjana)

Moringa oleifera

Moringa oleifera (synonym: Moringa pterygosperma) is a species of genus Moringa and family Moringacae. It is found in many countries all over the world and native of subtropical areas like Pakistan and India. It is known because of its nutritious and its seed oil, also called Ben oil. It is a tree having average height of 8 m. In Pakistan its common name is ‘Sohanjana’ or ‘Sanjana’ and found frequently in southern Punjab and it is also considered the origin of Moringa plant.

Moringa in Pakistan and Its Importance

Recent studies shows that this plant have ability to grow in any type of soil and can resist very harsh climates i.e., temperate and tropical. In England and USA there are a lot of herbal products and medicines related to moringa plant, But in Pakistan there is very less work on it but I already told that It has its origin in Pakistan, so most favorable climate for Moringa is in Pakistan.
It is also discovered through research that all part of Moringa tree can be used to cure a large number of diseases naturally. It is very rich in ‘Ca, Mg & Zn’ and zeatin (a cytokinin), other cytokinin and auxins which are natural hormones are found in excess quantities in this plant.
We can easily propagate it by both methods i.e., asexual or sexual propagation. There is a lot of  research work being done methods to manipulate Moringa oleifera, but there are still many aspects hidden in this plant. All students, professors and researchers are invited to work on it and feel free to ask my help, it would be pleasure for me.
 

Benefits 

There are many uses of Moringa oleifera, we just need to commercialize and we can earn a lot of profit. There are a lot of uses discovered and many are still hidden some of discovered benefits of Moringa plant are given below in brief;
1. All parts of plant can be used as cure of many diseases i.e., fever, headache, inflammation, asthma, nervous disorders, reproductive problems, skin diseases, skin infection, digestive disorders, create immunity, and the important thing that we are solving these problems naturally and moving towards sustainability.
2. Its seeds can be used as a natural water purifier.
3. Its leaves are rich in nutrients so it can be used by third world countries to overcome on hunger and by using it we can almost eliminate hunger from all over the world.
4. Its leaves also have hormones like zeatin, cytokinins and auxins in excess so it can be used as a natural growth enhancer for crops.
5. Its seed have oil which is also called ‘Ben oil‘. It is very expensive oil in international market and we can sale it easily. It is best lubricating oil among all oils of world. It has shelf life of many years. So we can use it with other oils to increase their shelf life. Burj Al Khalifa offers food cooked in Ben oil. Rado watches also have Ben oil as a lubricating oil. Recently some scientists made biofuel from it.
6. It can be used in agro-forestry, Kenya is widely using it in field crops, and taking many benefits from it.
7. It can kill some pests so we can use it as biopesticide.

Agricultural Land Measuring Units in Pakistan

The following are the basic measurements of landused in Punjab, Pakistan in ascending order. A keela is measured rectangularly, reckoned as an area 36 karams x 40 karams, or 198 feet x 220 feet = 43,560 square feet. Kothis are measured in marlas and kanaals. … An acre is approximately 40% of a hectare.
Karam
1 karam = 2 ft. steps = 5.5 ft. = 1.67 m
1 sq. Karam = 5.5 x 5.5 ft. = (5.5)ft.2 = 30.25 ft.2          or
1 sq. Karam = 1.67 x 1.67 m = (1.67)2 m2 = 2.679 m2

Marla

1 Marla = 9 sq. Karam = 9 x (5.5)2 ft.2= 9 x 30.25 ft.2 = 272.24 ft.2        or
1 Marla = 9 sq. Karam = 9 x (1.67)2m2= 9 x 2.789m2 = 25.10 m2
 
Kanal
1 Kanal (K) = 20 Marla = 20 x 272.24 ft.2 = 5444.8 ft.2(since, 1 Marla = 272.24 ft.2)   or
1 Kanal (K) = 20 Marla = 20 x 25.10 m2 = 502 m2        (since, 1 Marla = 25.10 m2)     or
1 Kanal (K) = 20 Marla = 20 x 9 sq. Karam = 180 sq. Karam  (since 1 Marla = 9 sq. Karam)
 
Bega
1 Bega (B) = 4 Kanal = 4 x 5444.8 ft.2 = 21779.2 ft.2  (since, 1 Kanal = 5444.8 ft.2)    or
1 Bega (B) = 4 Kanal = 4 x 502 m2 = 2008 m2            (since, 1 Kanal = 502 m2)         or
1 Bega (B) = 4 Kanal = 4 x 180 sq. Karam = 720 sq. Karam        (since, 1 Kanal = 180 sq. Karam)

Acre
1 Acre = 8 Kanal = 8 x 5444.8 ft.2 = 43560 ft.2           (since, 1 Kanal = 5444.8 ft.2)    or
1 Acre = 8 Kanal = 8 x 502 m2 = 4016 m2                 (since, 1 Kanal = 502 m2)        or
1 Acre = 8 Kanal = 8 x 180 sq. Karam = 1440 sq. Karam   (since, 1 Kanal = 180 sq. Karam) or
1 Acre = 2 Bega

Hectare
1 Hectare = 2.47 Acre

Murabba / Square
1 Square = 24 Acre
25 Acres (Suggested by Muhammad Sarfraz)
Lat
1 Lat = 15 Acre
 12.5 Acres 100 Kanals (Suggested by Muhammad Sarfraz)

Hibiscus – the China rose

Hibiscus (Rosa sinensis), is a tropical and subtropical plant, native to China and East Asia. Her big, usually red flowers gave her the name “Rose”. She is the national flower of Malaysia and she is associated with the Hawaii islands where the tropical climate is ideal for her.
Hibiscus flowers last usually a day (sometimes two days) and even if they don’t have a scent, the hummingbirds are attracted to them. They are edible and you can make from them a tasty, diuretic tea or you can eat them in salads.
The flowers last a day but the plant makes many of them and you have the impression that she is always in bloom. The flowers have a single or many rows of petals and can be huge on hybrids, sometimes up to 25 cm (10”) in diameter. The colors vary from red to yellow and orange and there are many combinations of shades.
Hibiscus loves the light and can resist in sunny gardens, but also in semi-shaded ones. In warmer areas she grows also in open gardens. She blooms all year around, but during autumn and winter, when the amount of light decreases, the flowers production decreases too. Starting February a new growing/blooming season begins.
This plant comes from warmer areas and loves the warmth and the light, but resists very well to semi-shade too. In this case she will have just less flowers. In stead she can’t stand the cold and it is good to bring her inside before the first frost (if you keep her on terrace or in garden during summer). Also, you have to protect her from wind. Her flowers break very easily and sometimes when you pass near them, just a little touch will be enough to break them.
Hibiscus adapts to different types of soil, but prefers rich soil with pH 6.0 – 7.0, which will make her thrive and flourish. That’s why adding organic fertilizers is a good idea.
When it comes about watering, she prefers a slightly moist soil, but not a sloppy one. Generally, if you water her once every three days, it is ok, but that depends of how warm it is. Anyway, if you forget to water her she will show you this, leaning the leaves.
Hibiscus is a plant that can be easy grown in container. So, she is suited to containers garden. It is better if the container is rather large than too deep because the plant has bushy roots that grow rather horizontally than vertically. Of course don’t forget the flower pots plate for water drainage.
Red HibiscusHibiscus propagation can be very easy done through cut branches from a mature plant.
Use a cutting from a branch with a new growth. It must be thick as a pencil. Reduce it to 10 cm – 15 cm (4” – 6”) length. Remove almost all leaves, letting just few of them. If these are too large, cut them in half. Don’t worry, you don’t hurt the twig. Actually, this way you help her to focus her energy in making the new roots. Make the cut at 45° angle (diagonal cut) under a node. The node is the place where the leaf joins the stem.
Take this twig and put it in a small pot full with soil or sand. Pay attention that the sand dries faster. You can put it also in a glass of water and before this you can treat the cut with some root hormones that stimulate the roots growth. If you don’t have these you can put in the same glass, together with the hibiscus cutting, a willow twig which has this kind of hormones.
Place the glass in a bright spot, but not under direct sunlight. After 1-2 months the new plant will have roots.
Hibiscus is a shrub that can grow to 4.5 m (14 ft) height, but if you don’t want her to reach this height, you can cut her stalk at the desired height. But this depends on us and is not mandatory. You can let her grow as a tree or as a bush.
The pruning is done from different motives: removing the old or suffering branches, keeping a certain shape, stimulating new branches and flowers. This operation must be done when there is no danger of frost because the new Pink Hibiscusgrowths can’t resist to low temperatures. Cut the branches about ½ cm above a node (the place where the leaf joins the stem). The new shoot will grow in the direction of the node and it will have flowers after about 3 months. This is an occasion to use the cuttings to obtain new plants.
Regarding the pests, the hibiscus can be attacked by aphids, whiteflies, mites, caterpillars, snails and slugs, leaf miners etc. That’s why you have to check her from time to time and when you want to buy a plant from store, choose one that has no spots, stains on leaves or insects around. If the plant is attacked by pest insects you can use organic insecticides to protect her.
Having this information, even if she is a little tree or a bush, your hibiscus will delight you with her wonderful flowers, if you give her the proper conditions to grow

Role of Biofertilizers in soil fertility and Agriculture

Biofertilizers

Biofertilizers are defined as preparations containing living cells or latent cells of efficient strains of microorganisms that help crop plants’ uptake of nutrients by their interactions in the rhizosphere when applied through seed or soil.  They accelerate certain microbial processes in the soil which augment the extent of availability of nutrients in a form easily assimilated by plants.

Very often microorganisms are not as efficient in natural surroundings as one would expect them to be and therefore artificially multiplied cultures of efficient selected microorganisms play a vital role in accelerating the microbial processes in soil.

Use of biofertilizers is one of the important components of integrated nutrient management, as they are cost effective and renewable source of plant nutrients to supplement the chemical fertilizers for sustainable agriculture. Several microorganisms and their association with crop plants are being exploited in the production of biofertilizers. They can be grouped in different ways based on their nature and function.

S. No. Groups Examples
N2  fixing Biofertilizers
1. Free-living Azotobacter, Beijerinkia, Clostridium, Klebsiella, Anabaena, Nostoc, 
2. Symbiotic Rhizobium, Frankia, Anabaena azollae
3. Associative Symbiotic Azospirillum
P Solubilizing Biofertilizers
1. Bacteria Bacillus megaterium var. phosphaticum, Bacillus subtilis
Bacillus circulans, Pseudomonas striata
2. Fungi Penicillium sp, Aspergillus awamori
P Mobilizing Biofertilizers
1. Arbuscular mycorrhiza Glomus sp.,Gigaspora sp.,Acaulospora sp.
Scutellospora sp. Sclerocystis sp.
2. Ectomycorrhiza Laccaria sp., Pisolithus sp.Boletus sp.Amanita sp.
3. Ericoid mycorrhizae Pezizella ericae
4. Orchid mycorrhiza Rhizoctonia solani
Biofertilizers for Micro nutrients
1. Silicate and Zinc solubilizers Bacillus sp.
Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria
1. Pseudomonas Pseudomonas fluorescens
2. Different types of biofertilizers
Rhizobium  

Rhizobium is a soil habitat bacterium, which can able to colonize the legume roots and fixes the atmospheric nitrogen symbiotically. The morphology and physiology of Rhizobium will vary from free-living condition to the bacteroid of nodules. They are the most efficient biofertilizer as per the quantity of nitrogen fixed concerned. They have seven genera and highly specific to form nodule in legumes, referred as cross inoculation group. 

Rhizobium inoculant was first made in USA and commercialized by private enterprise in 1930s and the strange situation at that time has been chronicled by Fred (1932).

Initially, due to absence of efficient bradyrhizobial strains in soil, soybean inoculation at that time resulted in bumper crops but incessant inoculation during the last four decades by US farmers has resulted in the build up of a plethora of inefficient strains in soil whose replacement by efficient strains of bradyrhizobia has become an insurmountable problem.

Azotobacter  

Of the several species of AzotobacterA. chroococcum happens to be the dominant inhabitant in arable soils capable of fixing N2 (2-15 mg N2 fixed /g of carbon source) in culture media.

The bacterium produces abundant slime which helps in soil aggregation. The numbers of A. chroococcum in Indian soils rarely exceeds 105/g soil due to lack of organic matter and the presence of antagonistic microorganisms in soil.

Azospirillum  

Azospirillum lipoferum and A. brasilense (Spirillum lipoferum in earlier literature) are primary inhabitants of soil, the rhizosphere and intercellular spaces of root cortex of graminaceous plants. They perform the associative symbiotic relation with the graminaceous plants. 

The bacteria of Genus Azospirillum are  N2 fixing organisms isolated from the root and above ground parts of a variety of crop plants. They are Gram negative, Vibrio or Spirillum having abundant accumulation of polybetahydroxybutyrate (70 %) in cytoplasm. 

Five species of Azospirillum have been described to date A. brasilenseA.lipoferumA.amazonenseA.halopraeferens and A.irakense.  The organism proliferates under both anaerobic and aerobic conditions but it is preferentially micro-aerophilic in the presence or absence of combined nitrogen in the medium.

Apart from nitrogen fixation, growth promoting substance production (IAA), disease resistance and drought tolerance are some of the additional benefits due to Azospirillum inoculation.

Cyanobacteria  

Both free-living as well as symbiotic cyanobacteria (blue green algae) have been harnessed in rice cultivation in India. A composite culture of BGA having heterocystous NostocAnabaenaAulosira etc. is given as primary inoculum in trays, polythene lined pots and later mass multiplied in the field for application as soil based flakes to the rice growing field at the rate of 10 kg/ha. The final product is not free from extraneous contaminants and not very often monitored for checking the presence of desiredalgal flora.

Once so much publicized as a biofertilizer for the rice crop, it has not presently attracted the attention of rice growers all over India except pockets in the Southern States, notably Tamil Nadu. The benefits due to algalization could be to the extent of 20-30 kg N/ha under ideal conditions but the labour oriented methodology for the preparation of BGA biofertilizer is in itself a limitation. Quality control measures are not usually followed except perhaps for random checking for the presence of desired species qualitatively.

Azolla

Azolla is a free-floating water fern that floats in water and fixes atmospheric nitrogen in association with nitrogen fixing blue green alga Anabaena azollaeAzolla fronds consist of sporophyte with a floating rhizome and small overlapping bi-lobed leaves and roots. Rice growing areas in South East Asia and other third World countries have recently been evincing increased interest in the use of the symbiotic N2 fixing water fern Azolla either as an alternate nitrogen sources or as a supplement to commercial nitrogen fertilizers. Azolla is used as biofertilizer for wetland rice and it is known to contribute 40-60 kg N/ha per rice crop.

Phosphate solubilizing microorganisms(PSM)

Several soil bacteria and fungi, notably species of Pseudomonas, Bacillus, Penicillium, Aspergillusetc. secrete organic acids and lower the pH in their vicinity to bring about dissolution of bound phosphates in soil. Increased yields of wheat and potato were demonstrated due to inoculation of peat based cultures of Bacillus polymyxa and Pseudomonas striata. Currently, phosphate solubilizers are manufactured by agricultural universities and some private enterprises and sold to farmers through governmental agencies. These appear to be no check on either the quality of the inoculants marketed in India or the establishment of the desired organisms in the rhizosphere.

AM fungi

The transfer of nutrients mainly phosphorus and also zinc and sulphur from the soil milleu to the cells of the root cortex is mediated by intracellular obligate fungal endosymbionts of the genera Glomus, Gigaspora, Acaulospora, Sclerocysts and Endogone which possess vesicles for storage of nutrients and arbuscles for funneling these nutrients into the root system. By far, the commonest genus appears to be Glomus, which has several species distributed in soil.

Availability for pure cultures of AM (Arbuscular Mycorrhiza) fungi is an impediment in large scale production despite the fact that beneficial effects of AM fungal inoculation to plants have been repeatedly shown under experimental conditions in the laboratory especially in conjunction with other nitrogen fixers.

                                           
Silicate solubilizing bacteria (SSB)

Microorganisms are capable of degrading silicates and aluminum silicates. During the metabolism of microbes several organic acids are produced and these have a dual role in silicate weathering. They supply H+ ions to the medium and promote hydrolysis and the organic acids like citric, oxalic acid, Keto acids and hydroxy carbolic acids which from complexes with cations, promote their removal and retention in the medium in a dissolved state.

The studies conducted with a Bacillus sp. isolated from the soil of granite crusher yard showed that the bacterium is capable of dissolving several silicate minerals under in vitro condition. The examination of anthrpogenic materials like cement, agro inputs like super phosphate and rock phosphate exhibited silicate solubilizing bacteria to a varying degree. The bacterial isolates made from different locations had varying degree of silicate solubilizing potential. Soil inoculation studies with selected isolate with red soil, clay soil, sand and hilly soil showed that the organisms multiplied in all types of soil and released more of silica and the available silica increased in soil and water. Rice responded well to application of organic sliceous residue like rice straw, rice husk and black ash @ 5 t/ha. Combining SSB with these residues further resulted in increased plant growth and grain yield. This enhancement is due to increased dissolution of silica and nutrients from the soil.

Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR)

The group of bacteria that colonize roots or rhizosphere soil and beneficial to crops are referred to as plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR).

The PGPR inoculants currently commercialized that seem to promote growth through at least one mechanism; suppression of plant disease (termed Bioprotectants), improved nutrient acquisition (termed Biofertilizers), or phytohormone production (termed Biostimulants). Species of Pseudomonas and Bacillus can produce as yet not well characterized phytohormones or growth regulators that cause crops to have greater amounts of fine roots which have the effect of increasing the absorptive surface of plant roots for uptake of water and nutrients. These PGPR are referred to as Biostimulants and the phytohormones they produce include indole-acetic acid, cytokinins, gibberellins and inhibitors of ethylene production.

Recent advances in molecular techniques also are encouraging in that tools are becoming available to determine the mechanism by which crop performance is improved using PGPR and track survival and activity of PGPR organisms in soil and roots. The science of PGPR is at the stage where genetically modified PGPR can be produced. PGPR with antibiotic, phytohormone and siderophore production can be made.

Despite of promising results, biofertilizers has not got widespread application in agriculture mainly because of the variable response of plant species or genotypes to inoculation depending on the bacterial strain used. Differential rhizosphere effect of crops in harbouring a target strain or even the modulation of the bacterial nitrogen fixing and phosphate solubilizing capacity by specific root exudates may account for the observed differences. On the other hand, good competitive ability and high saprophytic competence are the major factors determining the success of a bacterial strain as an inoculant.

Studies to know the synergistic activities and persistence of specific microbial populations in complex environments, such as the rhizosphere, should be addressed in order to obtain efficient inoculants. In this regards, research efforts are made at Agricultural College and Research Institute, Madurai to obtain appropriate formulations of microbial inoculants incorporating nitrogen fixing, phosphate- and silicate- solubilizing bacteria and plant growth promoting rhizobacteria which will help in promoting the use of such beneficial bacteria in sustainable agriculture.

Liquid Biofertilizers

Biofertilizers are such as Rhizobium, Azospirillum and Phosphobacteria  provide nitrogen  and phosphorous nutrients to crop plants through nitrogen fixation and phosphorous solubilization processes. These Biofertilizers could be effectively utilized for rice, pulses, millets, cotton, sugarcane, vegetable and other horticulture crops.

Biofertilizers  is one of the prime input in organic farming not only enhances the crop growth and yield but also improves the soil health and sustain soil fertility.

At  present, Biofertilizers  are supplied to the farmers as carrier based  inoculants. As an alternative, liquid formulation technology has been developed in the Department of Agricultural  Microbiology, TNAU, Coimbatore which has more advantages than the carrier inoculants.

Benefits

The advantages of Liquid Bio-fertilizer over conventional carrier based Bio-fertilizers are listed below:

  • Longer shelf life -12-24 months.
  • No contamination.
  • No loss of properties due to storage upto 45º c.
  • Greater potentials to fight with native population.
  • High populations can be maintained more than 109 cells/ml upto 12 months to 24 months.
  • Easy identification by typical fermented smell.
  • Cost saving on carrier material, pulverization, neutralization, sterilization, packing and transport.
  • Quality control protocols are easy and quick.
  • Better survival on seeds and soil.
  • No need of running Bio-fertilizer production units through out the year.
  • Very much easy to use by the farmer.
  • Dosages is 10 time less than carrier based powder Bio-fertilizers.
  • High commercial revenues.
  • High export potential.
  • Very high enzymatic activity since contamination is nil.

Characteritistics of different liquid Bio-fertilizers

Rhizobium

This belongs to bacterial group and the classical example is symbiotic nitrogen fixation. The bacteria infect the legume root and form root nodules within which they reduce molecular nitrogen to ammonia which is reality utilized by the plant to produce valuable proteins, vitamins and other nitrogen containing compounds. The site of  symbiosis is within the root nodules. It has been estimated that 40-250 kg N / ha / year is fixed by different legume crops by the microbial activities of Rhizobium. The percentage of nodules occupied, nodules dry weight, plant dry weight and the grain yield per plant the multistrain inoculant was highly promising Table-2 shows the N fixation rates.

Quantity of biological N fixed by Liqiud Rhizobium in different crops

Host Group Rhizobium Species Crops N fix kg/ha
Pea group Rhizobium leguminosarum Green pea, Lentil 62- 132
Soybean group R.japonicum Soybean 57-  105
Lupini Group R. lupine orinthopus Lupinus 70- 90
Alfafa grp.Group R.mellilotiMedicago Trigonella Melilotus 100- 150
Beans group R. phaseoli Phaseoli 80- 110
Clover group R. trifoli Trifolium 130
Cowpea group R. species Moong, Redgram, Cowpea, Groundnut 57- 105
Cicer group R. species Bengal gram 75- 117

Physical features of liquid Rhizobium

  • Dull white in colour
  • No bad smell
  • No foam formation, pH 6.8-7.5

Azospirllium

It belongs to bacteria and is known to fix the considerable quantity of nitrogen in the range of 20- 40 kg N/ha in the rhizosphere in non- non-leguminous plants such as cereals, millets, Oilseeds, cotton etc. The efficiency of Azospirillium as  a  Bio-Fertilizer has increased because of its ability of inducing abundant roots in several pants like rice, millets and oilseeds even in upland conditions. Considerable quantity of nitrogen fertilizer up to 25-30 % can be saved by the use of Azospirillum inoculant. The genus Azospirillum has three species viz., A. lipoferumA. brasilense and A. amazonense. These species have been commercially exploited for the use as nitrogen supplying Bio-Fertilizers.

One of the characteristics of Azospirillum is its ability to reduce nitrate and denitrify. Both A. lipoferum,and A. brasilense may comprise of strains which can actively or weakly denitrify or reduce nitrate to nitrite and therefore, for inoculation preparation, it is necessary to select strains which do not possess these characteristics. Azospirllium lipoferum present in the roots of some of tropical forage grasses uch as Digitaria, Panicum, Brachiaria, Maize, Sorghum, Wheat and Rye.

Physical  features of liquid Azospirillum

  • The colour of the liquid may be blue or dull white.
  • Bad odours confirms improper liquid formulation and may be concluded as mere broth.
  • Production of yellow gummy colour materials comfirms the quality product.
  • Acidic pH always confirms that there is no Azospirillum bacteria in the liquid.

N2 fixing capacity of Azospirillum in the roots of several plants and the amount of N2 fixed by them.

Plant Mg N2  fixed /g of substrate
Oryza sativa (Paddy) 28
Sorghum bicolour (Sorghum) 20
Zea mays (Maize) 20
Panicum sp. 24
Cynodon dactylon 36
Setaria sp 12
Amaranthus spinosa 16

Production of growth hormones

Azospirillum cultures synthesize considerable amount of biologically active substances like vitamins, nicotinic acid, indole acetic acids giberllins. All these hormones/chemicals helps the plants in better germination, early emergence, better root development.

Role of Liquid Azospirillum under field conditions

  • Stimulates growth and imparts green colour which is a characteristic of a healthy plant.
  • Aids utilization of potash, phosphorous and other nutrients.
  • Encourage plumpness and succulence of fruits and increase protein percentage.

Sign of non functioning of Azospirillum in the field

  • No growth promotion activity
  • Yellowish green colour of leaves, which indicates no fixation of Nitrogen

Azotobacter

It is the important and well known free living nitrogen fixing aerobic bacterium. It is used as a Bio-Fertilizer for all non leguminous plants especially rice, cotton, vegetables etc. Azotobacter cells are not present on the rhizosplane but are abundant in the rhizosphere region. The lack of organic matter in the soil is a limiting factor for the proliferation of Azotobaceter in the soil.

Field experiments were conducted in 1992, 1993 and 1994 during the pre-kharif wet seasons to find out the influence on rice grain yield by the combined use of N- fixing organisms and inorganic nitrogen fertilizer which recorded increase in was yield.

Physical features of liquid Azotobacter

The pigmentation that is produced by Azotobacter in aged culture is melanin which is due to oxidation of tyrosine by tyrosinase an enzyme which has copper. The colour can be noted in liquid forms. Some of the pigmentation are described below-

  • A. chroococcum: Produces brown-black pigmentation in liquid inoculum.
  • A. beijerinchii: Produces yellow- light brown pigementation in liquid inoculum
  • A. vinelandii: Produces green fluorescent pigmentation in liquid inoculum.
  • A. paspali: Produces green fluorescent pigmentation in liquid inoculum.
  • A. macrocytogenes: Produces, pink pigmentation in liquid inoculum.
  • A. insignis: Produces less, gum less, grayish-blue pigmentation in liquid inoculum.
  • A. agilies: Produces green-fluorescent pigmentation in liquid inoculum.

Role of liquid Azotobacter in tissue culture

The study was conducted by Dr. Senthil et al (2004) on sugarcane variety CO 86032 in Tissue culture Laboratories of Rajashree Sugars and Chemicals Ltd, Varadaraj nagar, Theni, Tamilnadu. The liquid bioinoculants were provided by Dr. Krishnan Chandra, Regional Director, RCOF, Bangalore to evaluate their growth promoting effects on sugarcane micropropagation. He recorded Biometric observations like Plant height, leaf length, width, root length, no of roots. Chemical parameters –Protein, Carbohydrates, N, P,K total biomass and concluded as follows:

  • The performance of Azotobacter liquid inoculant was c
  • omparatively better than all the treatments in 10 % MS medium followed Azospirillum.
  • The performance of Azotobacter liquid inoculant was comparatively better than all the treatments followed by Azosopirillum for the growth of the polybag sugarcane seedlings.

Role of liquid Azotobacter as a Bio-control agent

Azotobacter have been found to produce some antifungal substance which inhibits the growth of some soil fungi like Aspergillus, Fusarium, Curvularia, Alternaria, Helminthosporium, Fusarium etc.

Acetobaceter

This is a sacharophillic bacteria and associate with sugarcane, sweet potato and sweet sorghum plants and fixes 30 kgs/ N/ ha year. Mainly this bacterium is commercialized for sugarcane crop. It is known  to increase yield by 10-20 t/ acre and sugar content by about  10-15 percent.

Effect of liquid Acetobacter diazotrophicus on sugarcane

In South India use of Azospirillum and Phospho-bacterium on the cash crop sugarcane is a regular practice for the past few years with a saving of nearly 20 % of chemical nitrogen and phosphate applications. Now, it has been reported that a bacteria Acetobacter diazotrophicus  which is present in the sugarcane stem, leaves, soils have a capacity to fix up to 300 kgs of nitrogen. This bacteria first reported in brazil where the farmers cultivate sugarcane in very poor sub-soil fertilized with Phosphate, Potassium and micro elements alone, could produce yield for three consecutive harvests, without any nitrogen fertilizer. They have recorded yield 182- 244 tones per ha. This leads to the assumption that active nitrogen fixing bacteria has associated within the plant.

Do’s and Don’t for Entrepreneurs, Dealers and farmers

Do

Don’t

Keep Bio-fertilizers bottles away from direct heat and sunlight. Store it in cool and dry place. Don’t store Bio-fertilizers bottles under heat and sunlight
Sell only Bio-fertilizers bottles which contain batch number, the name of the crop on which it has to be used, the date of manufacture and expiry period. Don’t sell Bio-fertilizers bottles after their expiry period is over.
If the expiry period is over, then discard it as it is not effective. Don’t prick holes into the bottles or puncture them to pour the content
Keep Bio-fertilizers bottles away from fertilizer or pesticide containers and they should not be mixed directly. Do not mix the Bio-fertilizers with fungicides, insecticides, herbicides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers.

Liquid  Bio-fertlizer application methodology
There are three ways of using Liquid Bio-fertilizers

  1. Seed treatment
  2. Root dipping
  3. Soil application

Seed Treatment

Seed Treatment is a most common method adopted for all types of inoculants. The seed treatment is effective and economic. For small quantity of seeds (up to 5 kgs quantity) the coating can done in a plastic bag. For this purpose, a plastic bag having size (21” x 10”) or big size can be used. The bag should be filled with 2 kg or more of seeds. The bag should be closed in such a way to trap the airs as much as possible. The bag should be squeezed for 2 minutes or more until all the seed are uniformly wetted. Then bag is opened, inflated again and shaked gently. Stop shaking after each seeds gets a uniform layer of culture coating. The bag is opened and the seed is dried under the shade for 20-30 minutes. For large amount of seeds coating can be done in a bucket and inoculant can be mixed directly with hand. Seed Treatment with RhizobiumAzotobacter, Azospirillum, along with PSM can be done.

The seed treatment can be done with any of two or more bacteria. There is no side (antagonistic) effect. The important things that has to be kept in mind are that the seeds must be coated first with Rhizobium, Azotobacter or Azospirillum. When each seed get a layer of above bacteria then PSM inoculant has to be coated as outer layer. This method will provide maximum number of each bacteria required for better results. Treatments of seed with any two bacteria will not provide maximum number of bacteria on individual seed.

Root dipping

For application of Azospirillum/ /PSM on paddy transplating/ vegetable crops this method is used. The required quantity of Azospirillum/ /PSM has to be mixed with 5-10 litres of water at one corner of the field and the roots of seedlings has to be dipped for a minimum of half-an-hour before transplantation.

Soil application

Use 200ml of PSM per acre. Mix PSM with 400 to 600 kgs of Cow dung FYM along with ½ bag of rock phosphate if available. The mixture of PSM, cow dung  and rock phosphate have to be kept under any tree or under shade for over night and maintain 50% moisture. Use the mixture as soil application in rows or during leveling of soil.

Dosage of liquid Bio-fertilizers in different crops

Recommended Liquid Bio-fertilizers and its application method, quantity to be used for different crops are as follows:

Crop

Recommended Bio-fertilizer

Application method

Quantity to be used

Field crops 
Pulses
Chickpea, pea, Groundnut, soybean, beans, Lentil, lucern, Berseem, Green gram, Black gram, Cowpea and pigeon pea
Rhizobium Seed treatment 200ml/acre
Cereals
Wheat, oat, barley
Azotobacter/Azospirillum Seed treatment 200ml/acre
Rice Azospirillum Seed treatment 200ml/acre
Oil seeds
Mustard, seasum, Linseeds, Sunflower, castor
Azotobacter Seed treatment 200ml/acre
Millets
Pearl millets, Finger millets, kodo millet
Azotobacter Seed treatment 200ml/acre
Maize and Sorghum Azospirillum Seed treatment 200ml/acre
Forage crops and Grasses
Bermuda grass, Sudan grass, Napier Grass , ParaGrass, StarGrass etc.
Azotobacter Seed treatment 200ml/acre
Other Misc. Plantation Crops
Tobacco
Azotobacter Seedling treatment 500ml/acre
Tea, Coffee Azotobacter Soil treatment 400ml/acre
Rubber, Coconuts Azotobacter Soil treatment 2-3 ml/plant
Agro-ForestRY/Fruit Plants
All fruit/agro-forestry (herb,shrubs, annuals and perennial) plants for fuel wood fodder, fruits,gum,spice,leaves,flowers,nuts and seeds puppose
Azotobacter Soil treatment 2-3 ml/plant at nursery
Leguminous plants/ trees Rhizobium Soil treatment 1-2 ml/plant

Note:

Doses recommended when count of inoculum is 1 x 108 cells/ml then doses will be ten times more besides above said Nitrogen fixers, Phosphate solubilizers and potash mobilizers at the rate of 200 ml/ acre could be applied for all crops.

Equipments required for Biofertilizer production
In biofertilizer production industry, equipments are the major infrastructure, which involves 70 percent of capital investment. Any compromise on the usage  of the following mentioned equipments may finally decline in the quality of biofertilizer.After studying the principle behind the usage of all instruments, some of the instruments can be replaced with a culture room fitted with a U.V.Lamp. Autoclaves, Hot Air Oven, Incubators and sealing machines are indigenously made with proper technical specifications. The correct use of equipments will give uninterrupted introduction with quality inoculum.
Essential equipments
Autoclave

It is an apparatus in which materials are sterilized by air free saturated steam (under pressure) at a temperature above 100OC. If the steam pressure inside the autoclave is increased to 15 psi,  the temperature will rise to 121°C. this is sufficient to destroy all vegetative cells. Normally all growth medium are sterilized in the autoclave.

          

Laminar air flow chamber 

Laminar air flow chamber provides a uniform flow of filtered air. This continuous flow of air will prevent settling of particles in the work area.Air borne contamination is avoided in this chamber. Culture transfers and inoculation can be done here.

 

BOD incubators 

Incubators providing controlled conditions (light, temperature, humidity, etc.) required for the growth and development of microorganisms. Multiplication of starter culture can be done in this instrument.

 

Rotary shaker

It is used for agitating culture flasks by circular motion under variable speed control. Shaking provides aeration for growth of cultures. Shakers holding upto 20-50 flasks are generally used. The capacity of the shaker may be increased if it is a double- decker type.

Hot air oven

Hot air oven is meant for sterilizing all glassware materials. Dry heat is used in this apparatus to sterilize the materials. Normally 180OC is used for two hours for sterilizing glasswares.

pH meter

An instrument for measuring pH of the solution using a 0-14 scale in which seven represents neutral points, less than seven is acidity (excess of H‘  over OH-) and more than seven is alkality  (excess of OH- over H‘  ) useful in adjusting the pH of the growth medium.

Refrigerator

This equipment is used preserving all mother cultures used for biofertilizer production. The mother culture is periodically sub-cultured and stored in the refrigerator for long- term usage.

Fermentor

A fermentor is the equipment, which provides the proper environment for the growth of a desired organism.

It is generally a large vessel in which, the organism may be kept at the required temperature, pH , dissolved oxygen concentration and substrate concentration. Different models of fermentors are available depending upon the necessity.

A simple version model contains steam generator, sterilization process devices and agitator.

A sophisticated fermentor contains pH regulator, oxygen level regulator, anti-foam device, temperature  controller, etc.   

 

3. Mass production of   Bacterial Biofertilizer

Azospirillum Rhizobium Phosphobacteria Azotobacter

Biofertilizers are carrier based preparations containing efficient strain of nitrogen fixing or phosphate solubilizing microorganisms. Biofertilizers are formulated usually as carrier based inoculants. The organic carrier materials are more effective for the preparation of bacterial inoculants. The solid inoculants carry more number of bacterial cells and support the survival of cells for longer periods of time.

  • The mass production of carrier based bacterial biofertilizers involves three stages.
  • Culturing of microorganisms
  • Processing of carrier material
  • Mixing the carrier and the broth culture and packing

Culturing of Microorganisms

Although many bacteria can be used beneficially as a biofertilizer the technique of mass production is standardizedfor RhizobiumAzospirillumAzotobacter and phosphobacteria.
The media used for mass culturing are as follows:

Rhizobium : Yeast extract mannitol broth.

Growth on Congo red yeast extract mannitol agar medium

Mannitol 10.0 g
K2 HPO4  0.5 g
Mg So4 7H2 O  0.2 g
NaCl 0.1 g
Yeast extract  0.5 g
Agar   20.0 g
Distilled water    1000.0 ml

Add 10 ml of Congo red stock solution (dissolve 250 mg of Congo  red  in 100ml water) to 1 liter after adjusting the PH to 6.8 and before adding agar.

Rhizobium forms white, translucent, glistening, elevated and comparatively small colonies on this medium. Moreover, Rhizobium colonies do not take up the colour of congo red dye added in the medium. Those colonies which readily take up the congo red stain are not rhizobia but presumably Agrobacterium, a soil bacterium closely related to Rhizobium.

Azospirillum : Dobereiner’s malic acid broth with NH4Cl (1g per liter)

Composition of the N-free semisolid malic acid medium

Malic acid  5.0g
Potassium hydroxide  4.0g
Dipotassium hydrogen orthophosphate 0.5g
Magnesium sulphate  0.2g
Sodium chloride  0.1g
Calcium chloride  0.2g
Fe-EDTA (1.64% w/v aqueous)  4.0 ml
Trace element solution  2.0 ml
BTB (0.5% alcoholic solution)  2.0 ml
Agar 1.75 g
Distilled water  1000 ml
pH 6.8
Trace element solution
Sodium molybdate 200 mg
Manganous sulphate  235 mg
Boric acid  280 mg
Copper sulphate  8 mg
Zinc sulphate  24 mg
Distilled water  200 ml
     

Waksman medium No.77 (N-free Mannitol Agar Medium for Azotobacter)

Mannitol : 10.0 g
Ca CO3            : 5.0 g
K2HPO4 : 0.5 g
Mg SO4.7H2O : 0.2 g
NaCl : 0.2 g
Ferric chloride : Trace
MnSO4.4H2O : Trace
N-free washed Agar : 15.0 g
pH : 7.0
Distilled Water : 1000 ml

Phosphobacteria : Pikovskaya’s Broth

Glucose : 10.0 g
Ca3(PO4)2 : 5.0 g
(NH4)2SO4 : 0.5 g
KCl : 0.2 g
MgSO4. 7H2O : 0.1 g
MnSO4 : Trace
FeSO4 : Trace
Yeast Extract : 0.5 g
Distilled Water : 1000 ml

The broth is prepared in flasks and inoculum from mother culture is transferred to flasks. The culture is grown under shaking conditions at 30±2°C as submerged culture. The culture is incubated until maximum cell population of 1010 to 1011 cfu/ml is produced. Under optimum conditions this population level could be attained with in 4 to 5 days for Rhizobium; 5 to 7 days for Azospirillum; 2 to 3 days for phosphobacteria and 6-7 days for Azotobacter. The culture obtained in the flask is called starter culture. For large scale production of inoculant, inoculum from starter culture is transferred to large flasks/seed tank fermentor and grown until required level of cell count is reached.

Inoculum preparation

  • Prepare appropriate media for specific to the bacterial inoculant in 250 ml, 500 ml, 3 litre and 5 litre conical flasks and sterilize.
  • The media in 250 ml flask is inoculated with efficient bacterial  strain under aseptic condition
  • Keep the flask under room temperature in rotary shaker (200 rpm) for 5- 7 days.
  • Observe the flask for growth of the culture and estimate the population, which serves as the starter culture.
  • Using the starter culture (at log phase) inoculate the larger flasks (500 ml, 3 litre and 5 litre) containing the media, after obtaining growth in each flask.
  • The above media is prepared in large quantities in fermentor, sterilized well, cooled and kept it ready.
  • The media in the fermentor is inoculated with the log phase culture grown in 5 litre flask. Usually 1 -2 % inoculum is sufficient, however inoculation is done up to 5% depending on the growth of the culture in the larger flasks.
  • The cells are grown in fermentor by providing aeration (passing sterile air through compressor and sterilizing agents like glass wool, cotton wool, acid etc.) and given continuous stirring.
  • The broth is checked for the population of inoculated organism and contamination if any at the growth period.
  • The cells are harvested with the population load of 109 cells ml-1 after incubation period.
  • There should not be any fungal or any other bacterial contamination at 10-6 dilution level
  • It is not advisable to store the broth after fermentation for periods longer than 24 hours. Even at 4o C number of viable cells begins to decrease.

Processing of carrier material

The use of ideal carrier material is necessary in the production of good quality biofertilizer. Peat soil, lignite, vermiculite, charcoal, press mud, farmyard manure and soil mixture can be used as carrier materials. The neutralized peat soil/lignite are found to be better carrier materials for biofertilizer production The following points are to be considered in the selection of ideal carrier material.

  • Cheaper in cost
  • Should be locally available
  • High organic matter content
  • No toxic chemicals
  • Water holding capacity of more than 50%
  • Easy to process, friability and vulnerability.

Preparation of carrier material

  • The carrier material (peat or lignite) is powdered to a fine powder so as to pass through 212 micron IS sieve.
  • The pH of the carrier material is neutralized with the help of calcium carbonate (1:10 ratio) , since the peat soil / lignite  are acidic in nature (  pH of 4 – 5)
  • The neutralized carrier material is sterilized in an autoclave to eliminate the contaminants.

Mixing the carrier and the broth culture and packing

Inoculant packets are prepared by mixing the broth culture obtained from fermentor with sterile carrier material as described below:

Preparation of Inoculants packet

  • The neutralized, sterilized carrier material is spread in a clean, dry, sterile metallic or plastic tray.
  • The bacterial culture drawn from the fermentor is added to the sterilized carrier and mixed well by manual (by wearing sterile gloves) or by mechanical mixer. The culture suspension is to be added to a level of 40 – 50% water holding capacity depending upon the population.
  • The inoculant packet of 200 g quantities in polythene bags, sealed with electric sealer and allowed for curing for 2 -3 days at room temperature ( curing can be done by spreading the inoculant on a clean floor/polythene sheet/ by keeping in open shallow tubs/ trays with polythene covering for 2 -3 days at room temperature before packaging).

Schematic representation of mass production of bacterial biofertilizers

Specification of the polythene bags

  • The polythene bags should be of low density grade.
  • The thickness of the bag should be around 50 – 75 micron.
  • Each packet should be marked with the name of the manufacturer, name of the product, strain number, the crop to which recommended, method of inoculation, date of manufacture, batch number, date of expiry, price, full address of the manufacturer and storage instructions etc.,

Storage of biofertilizerpacket

  • The packet should be stored in a cool place away from the heat or direct sunlight.
  • The packets may be stored at room temperature or in cold storage conditions in lots in plastic crates or polythene / gunny bags.
  • The population of inoculant in the carrier inoculant packet may be determined at 15 days interval. There should be more than 109 cells / g of inoculant at the time of preparation and107 cells/ g on dry weight basis before expiry date.

Mass production of Mycorrhizal biofertilizer

The commercial utilization of mycorrhizal fungi has become difficult because of the obligate symbiotic nature and difficulty in culturing on laboratory media. Production of AM inoculum has evolved from the original use of infested field soils to the current practice of using pot culture inoculum derived from the surface disinfected spores of single AM fungus on a host plant grown in sterilized culture medium. Several researches in different parts of the world resulted in different methods of production of AM fungal inoculum as soil based culture as well as carrier based inoculum. Root organ culture and nutrient film technique provide scope for the production of soil less culture.

As a carrier based inoculum, pot culture is widely adopted method for production. The AM inoculum was prepared by using sterilized soil and wide array of host crops were used as host. The sterilization process is a cumbersome one and scientists started using inert materials for production of AM fungi. The researchers tried use of perlite, montmorillonite clay etc., In TNAU vermiculite was tried as substrate for the replacement of soil sterilization, which resulted in the best method of inoculum production. 

Method of production

1. Tank for mass multiplication of AM    2. Sprinkling of water in tank with vermiculite     3. Making of furrows to sow maize seeds
4. Sowing the seeds in furrows 5. View of the maize sown AM pit 6. Vermiculite contained raised AM infected maize plants
  • A trench (1m x 1m x 0.3m) is formed and lined with black polythene sheet to be used as a plant growth tub.
  • Mixed 50 kg of vermiculite and 5 kg of sterilized soil and packed in the trench up to a height of 20 cm
  • Spread 1 kg of AM inoculum (mother culture) 2-5 cm below the surface of vermiculite
  • Maize seeds surface sterilized with 5% sodium hypochlorite for 2 minutes are sown
  • Applied 2 g urea, 2 g super phosphate and 1 g muriate of potash for each trench at the time of sowing seeds.  Further 10 g of urea is applied twice on 30 and 45 days after sowing for each trench
  • Quality test on AM colonization in root samples is carried out on 30th and 45th day
  • Stock plants are grown for 60 days (8 weeks).  The inoculum is obtained by cutting all the roots of stock plants.  The inoculum produced consists of a mixture of vermiculite, spores, pieces of hyphae and infected root pieces.
  • Thus within 60 days 55 kg of AM inoculum could be produced from 1 sq meter area.  This inoculum will be sufficient to treat 550 m2 nursery area having 11,000 seedlings.                        

AM fungi

Nursery application: 100 g bulk inoculum is sufficient for one metre square. The inoculum should be applied at 2-3 cm below the soil at the time of sowing. The seeds/cutting should be sown/planted above the VAM inoculum to cause infection.

For polythene bag raised crops: 5 to 10 g bulk inoculum is sufficient for each packet. Mix 10 kg of inoculum with 1000 kg of sand potting mixture and pack the potting mixture in polythene bag before sowing.

For out –planting: Twenty grams of VAM inoculum is required per seedling. Apply inoculum at the time of planting.
For existing trees: Two hundred gram of VAM inoculum is required for inoculating one tree. Apply inoculum near the root surface at the time of fertilizer application.

Mass production and field application of cyanobacteria

Blue green algal inoculation with composite cultures was found to be more effective than single culture inoculation. A technology for mass scale production of composite culture of blue green algae under rice field condition was developed at TNAU and the soil based BGA inoculum could survive for more than 2 years.

At many sites where algal inoculation was used for three to four consecutive cropping seasons, the inoculated algae establish well and the effect persisted over subsequent rice crop. Technologies for utilizing nitrogen fixing organisms in low land rice were the beneficial role of blue green algal inoculation in rice soils of Tamil Nadu.  

The blue green algal inoculum may be produced by several methods viz., in tubs, galvanized trays, small pits and also in field conditions.  However the large-scale production is advisable under field condition which is easily adopted by farmers.

I. Multiplication in trays

  • Big metallic trays (6’x 3’x 6”lbh) can be used for small scale production
  • Take 10 kg of paddy field soil, dry powder well and spread
  • Fill water to a height of 3”
  • Add 250 g of dried algal flakes (soil based) as inoculum
  • Add 150 g of super phosphate and 30 g of lime and mix well with the soil
  • Sprinkle 25 g carbofuran to control the insects
  • Maintain water level in trays
  • After 10 to 15 days, the blooms of BGA will start floating on the water sources
  • At this stage stop watering and drain. Let the soil to dry completely
  • Collect the dry soil based inoculum as flakes
  • Store in a dry place.  By this method 5 to 7 kg of soil based inoculum can be obtained.

II. Multiplication under field condition

Materials

  • Rice field
  • Super phosphate
  • Carbofuran
  • Composite BGA starter culture

Procedure
Select an area of 40 m2 (20m x 2m) near a water source which is directly exposed to sunlight.
Make a bund all around the plot to a height of 15 cm and give it a coating with mud to prevent loss of water due to percolation.

  • Plot is well prepared and levelled uniformly and water is allowed to a depth of 5-7.5 cm and left to settle for 12 hrs.
  • Apply 2 kg of super phosphate and 200 g lime to each plot uniformly over the area.
  • The soil based composite starter culture of BGA containing 8-10 species @ 5 kg / plot is powdered well and broadcasted.
  • Carbofuran @ 200 g is also applied to control soil insects occurring in BGA.
  • Water is let in at periodic intervals so that the height of water level is always maintained at 5 cm.
  • After 15 days of inoculation, the plots are allowed to dry up in the sun and the algal flakes are collected and stored.

Observations
The floating algal flasks are green or blue green in colour.  From each harvest, 30 to 40 kg of dry algal flakes are obtained from the plot.
Method of inoculation of BGA in rice field
Blue green algae may be applied as soil based inoculum to the rice field following the method described below.

  • Powder the soil based algal flakes very well.
  • Mix it with 10 kg soil or sand (10kg powdered algal flakes with 10 kg soil / sand).
  • BGA is to be inoculated on 7-10 days after rice transplanting.
  • Water level at 3-4” is to be maintained at the time of BGA inoculation and then for a month so as to have maximum BGA development.

Observation
A week after BGA inoculation, algal growth can be seen and algal mat will float on the water after 2-3 weeks. The algal mat colour will be green or brown or yellowish green. 

Mass production and field application of Azolla

Azolla is a free-floating water fern that floats in water and fixes atmospheric nitrogen in association with nitrogen fixing blue green alga Anabaena azollaeAzolla fronds consist of sporophyte with a floating rhizome and small overlapping bi-lobed leaves and roots. Rice growing areas in South East Asia and other third World countries have recently been evincing increased interest in the use of the symbiotic N2 fixing water fern Azolla either as an alternate nitrogen sources or as a supplement to commercial nitrogen fertilizers.  Azolla is used as biofertilizer for wetland rice and it is known to contribute 40-60 kg N ha-1 per rice crop. The agronomic potential of Azolla is quite significant particularly for rice crop and it is widely used as biofertilizer for increasing rice yields. Rice crop response studies with Azolla biofertilizer in the People’s Republic in China and in Vietnam have provided good evidence that Azolla incorporation into the soil as a green manure crop is one of the most effective ways of providing nitrogen source for rice.

The utilization of Azolla as dual crop with wetland rice is gaining importance in Philippines, Thailand, Srilanka and India. The important factor in using Azolla as a biofertilizer for rice crop is its quick decomposition in soil and efficient availability of its nitrogen to rice. In tropical rice soils the applied Azolla mineralizes rapidly and its nitrogen is available to the rice crop in very short period. The common species of Azolla are A. microphylla, A. filiculoides, A. pinnata, A. caroliniana, A. nilotica, A. rubra and A. mexicana.

I.  Mass multiplication of Azolla under field conditions

A simple Azolla nursery method for large scale multiplication of Azolla in the field has been evolved for easy adoption by the farmers.

Materials

  • One cent (40 sq.m) area plot
  • Cattle dung
  • Super phosphate
  • Furadan
  • Fresh Azolla inoculum

Procedure

  • Select a wetland field and prepare thoroughly and level uniformly.
  • Mark the field into one cent plots (20 x 2m) by providing suitable bunds and irrigation channels.
  • Maintain water level to a height of 10 cm.
  • Mix 10 kg of cattle dung in 20 litres of water and sprinkle in the field.
  • Apply 100 g super phosphate as basal dose.
  • Inoculate fresh Azolla biomass @ 8 kg to each pot.
  • Apply super phosphate @ 100 g as top dressing fertilizer on 4th and 8th day after Azolla inoculation.
  • Apply carbofuran (furadan) granules @ 100 g/plot on 7th day after Azolla inoculation.
  • Maintain the water level at 10 cm height throughout the growth period of two or three weeks.
  • Observations
  • Note the Azolla mat floating on the plot. Harvest the Azolla, drain the water and record the biomass.

II.  Method of  inoculation of Azolla to rice crop

The Azolla biofertilizer may be applied in two ways for the wetland paddy.  In the first method, fresh Azolla biomass is inoculated in the paddy field before transplanting and incorporated as green manure.  This method requires huge quantity of fresh Azolla. In the other method, Azolla may be inoculated after transplanting rice and grown as dual culture with rice and incorporated  subsequently.

A.  Azolla  biomass incorporation as green manure for rice crop

  • Collect the fresh Azolla biomass from the Azolla nursery plot.
  • Prepare the wetland well and maintain water just enough  for easy incorporation.
  • Apply fresh Azolla biomass (15 t ha-1) to the main field and incorporate the Azolla by using implements or tractor.

B.  Azolla inoculation as dual crop for rice

  • Select a transplanted rice field.
  • Collect fresh Azolla  inoculum from Azolla nursery.
  • Broadcast the fresh Azolla in the transplanted rice field on 7th day after planting (500 kg / ha).
  • Maintain water level at 5-7.5cm.
  • Note the growth of Azolla mat four weeks after transplanting and incorporate the  Azolla biomass by using implements or tranctor or during inter-cultivation practices.
  • A second bloom of Azolla will develop 8 weeks after transplanting which may be incorporated again.
  • By the two incorporations, 20-25 tonnes of Azolla can be incorporated in one hectare rice field.

4. Application of Biofertilizers

1. Seed treatment or seed inoculation 
2. Seedling root dip 
3. Main field application

Seed treatment

One packet of the inoculant is mixed with 200 ml of rice kanji to make a slurry. The seeds required for an acre are mixed in the slurry so as to have a uniform coating of the inoculant over the seeds and then shade dried for 30 minutes. The shade dried seeds should be sown within 24 hours. One packet of the inoculant (200 g) is sufficient to treat 10 kg of seeds.

Seedling root dip

This method is used for transplanted crops. Two packets of the inoculant is mixed in 40 litres of water. The root portion of the seedlings required for an acre is dipped in the mixture for 5 to 10 minutes and then transplanted.

Main field application

Four packets of the inoculant is mixed with 20 kgs of dried and powdered farm yard manure and then broadcasted in one acre of main field just before transplanting.

Rhizobium

For all legumes Rhizobium is applied as seed inoculant.

Azospirillum/Azotobacter

In the transplanted crops, Azospirillum is inoculated through seed, seedling root dip and soil application methods. For direct sown crops, Azospirillum is applied through seed treatment and soil application.

Phosphobacteria

Inoculated through seed, seedling root dip and soil application methods as in the case of Azospirillum.
Combined application of bacterial biofertilizers.

Phosphobacteria can be mixed with Azospirillum and Rhizobium. The inoculants should be mixed in equal quantities and applied as mentioned above.

Points to remember

  • Bacterial inoculants should not be mixed with insecticide, fungicide, herbicide and fertilizers.
  • Seed treatment with bacterial inoculant is to be done at last when seeds are treated with fungicides.

Biofertilizers recommendation (one packet – 200 g)

Crop Seed Nursery Seedling dip Main field Total requirement of packets per ha
Rice 5 10 5 10 30
Sorghum 3 10 13
Pearl millet 3 10 13
Ragi 3 5 10 18
Maize 3 10 13
Cotton 3 10 13
Sunflower 3 10 13
Castor 3 10 13
Sugarcane 10 36 
(3 split)
46
Turmeric 24 
(2 split)
24
Tobacco 1 3 10 g/pit 14
Papaya 2 10
Mandarin
Orange
2 10 g/pit
Tomato 1 10 14
Banana 5 10 g/pit

Rhizobium (only seed application is recommended)

Crop Total requirement of packets per ha
Soybean 5
Groundnut 5
Bengalgram 5
Blackgram 3
Greengram 3
Redgram 3
Cowpea 3

Phosphobacteria
The recommended dosage of Azospirillum is adopted for phosphobacteria inoculation; for combined inoculation, both biofertilizers as per recommendations are to be mixed uniformly before using.


5. Azolla – The best feed for cattle and poultry

Azolla is a free floating water fern that floats in water and fixes nitrogen in association with the nitrogen fixing blue green algae, Anabaena azollae. Azolla is considered to be a potential biofertilizer in terms of nitrogen contribution to rice. Long before its cultivation as a green manure, Azolla has been used as a fodder for domesticated animals such as pigs and ducks. In recent days, Azolla is very much used as a sustainable feed substitute for livestock especially dairy cattle, poultry, piggery and fish. 

Azolla contains 25 – 35 per cent protein on dry weight basis and rich in essential amino acids, minerals, vitamins and carotenoids including the antioxidant b carotene. Cholorophyll a, chlorophyll b and carotenoids are also present in Azolla, while the cyanobiont Anabaena azollae contains cholorophyll a, phycobiliproteins and carotenoids. The rare combination of high nutritive value and rapid biomass production make Azolla a potential and effective feed substitute for live stocks.

Inputs required

Azolla fronds, Polythene sheet, Super phosphate and Cow dung.

Methodology

The area selected for Azolla nursery should be partially shaded. The convenient size for Azolla is 10 feet length, 2 feet breadth and 1 feet depth. The nursery plot is spread with a polythene sheet at the bottom to prevent water loss. Soil is applied to a depth of 2 cm and a gram of super phosphate is applied along with 2 kg of vermicompost or cow dung in the nursery for quick growth. Azolla mother inoculum is introduced @ 5 kg/plot.

The contents in the plot are stirred daily so that the nutrients in the soil dissolve in water for easy uptake by Azolla. Azolla is harvested fifteen days after inoculation at the rate of 50-80 kg / plot. One third of Azolla should be left in the plot for further multiplication. Five kg cow dung slurry should be sprinkled in the Azolla nursery at  ten days intervals. Neem oil can be sprayed over the Azolla at 0.5 5 level to avoid pest incidence.

Animal Dosage / day
Adult cow , Buffalo, Bullock 1.5-2  kg
Layer, Broiler birds 20 – 30 grams
Goat 300 – 500 grams
Pig 1.5 – 2.0 kg
Rabbit 100 gram

Value of the technology

The egg yield is increased in layer birds due to Azolla feeding. The Azolla fed birds register an overall egg productivity of 89.0 per cent as against 83.7 per cent recorded by the birds fed with only concentrated feed. The average daily intake  of concentrated feed is considerably low (106.0 g) for birds due to Azolla substitution as against 122.0 g in the control birds. More impotantly Azolla feeding shows considerable amount of savings in the consumption of concentrated feed (13.0 %) leading to reduced operational cost. By considering the average cost of the concentrated feed  as Rs. 17/ Kg, a 13.0 % saving in the consumption ultimately leads to a feed cost savings of 10.0 paise /day/ bird and hence a layer unit maintaining 10,000 birds could cut down its expense towards feed to a tune of rs.1000/day.

Benefits
The Azolla feeding to layer birds increase egg weight, albumin, globulin and carotene contents. The total protein content of the eggs laid by the Azolla fed birds is high and the total carotene content of Azolla eggs(440 g 100 g-1 of edible portion)is also higher than the control. The rapid biomass production due to the high relative growth rate, increased protein and carotene contents and good digestability of the Azolla hybrid Rong ping favour its use as an effective feed supplement to poultry birds.

Effect of Azolla hybrid Rong Ping on the nutritional value of egg

Parameters Azolla egg Control percentage increase over control
Egg weight (g) 61.20 57.40 6.62
Albumin (g /100 g of edible portion) 3.9 3.4 14.70
Globulin (g /100 g of edible portion) 10.1 9.5 6.31
Total protein (g/ 100 g of edible portion) 14.0 12.9 8.52
Carotenes (µg / 100 g of edible portion) 440 405 8.64

Application

In Indian conditions, agriculture is very much coupled with poultry farming. Azolla is an important low cost input, which plays a vital role in improving soil quantity in sustainable rice farming. The twin potentials as biofertilizer and animal feed make the water fern Azolla as an effective input to both the vital components of integrated farming, agricultural and animalo husbandry.

Limitation

Azolla is a water fern and requires a growth temperature of 35-38º C. The multiplication of Azolla is affected under elevated temperature. Hence adopting this technology in dry zones where the temperature exceeds 40ºc is difficult.

Achievements

Azolla hybrid Rong ping had been selected to supply to the tribal population. Azolla mother inoculum nursery was  laid out in villages with the help of Krishi Vigyan Kendra, TNAU, Coimbatore and Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Karamadai,  women entrepreneurs were selected and one day training  was imparted to them  on the cultivation of Azolla. Wet biomass (Starter inoculm) were supplied at free of cost @ 10 kg/women entrepreneur during the training so as to enable them to initiate commercial Azolla cultivation in their backyards.

Azolla multiplication plots had been laid out in Narasipuram. Azolla mass production training was conducted to the SHG in Narasipuram village with the help of Kalaimagal Arts and Science College, Narasipuram, Sappanimadai (tribal village) and Avinashilingam KVK, Karamadai. With the help of Avinashilingam KVK, Karamadai Azolla trainings were conducted to women volunteers and we have established Azolla village in Karamadai. The Avin milk producers union Coimbatore and the poultry owners association,  Namakkal have been contacted and explained the importance of Azolla as feed supplement.

The Milk Producers Union also involved in the training and marketing of Azolla. They are purchasing Azolla fronds from the village level Azolla growers both under wet and dry conditions. Around 400 rural women and 370 tribal people have been trained on the cultivation of Azolla through this project. The Azolla laboratory and the Azolla germplasm center at AC& RI, TNAU, Coimbatore helped us in the maintenance of germplasm by providing the mother inoculum. The Animal Husbandry Unit at AC&RI, TNAU, Coimbatore  helped us in standardizing the Azolla and concentrated feed mixing ratio.

Azolla mass multiplication in pits Feeding Azolla to Rabbit
Feeding Azolla to Poultry Feeding Azolla to Livestock
Inoculating Super phosphate and Cow dung in Azolla pit

6. List of Biofertilizer production units in Tamil Nadu

Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Agriculture College and Research Institute,
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Dr. S. Anthoniraj
MADURAI-625 104
( 0452-422956 fax: 422785
e-mail: s_anthoniraj@yahoo.com
Biofertilizer Production Unit, Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Tamil Nadu
Gundusalai Road, Sommandalam,
CUDDALORE-607 001 (TN)
Biofertilizer Production Unit, Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Tamil Nadu
Agricultural Chemist
Sakkottai,
THANTAVUR-612 401 (TN)
Biofertilizer Production Unit, Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Tamil Nadu
Jamal Mohd. College Post, Khajamalai,
TRICHY-620 020 (TN)
KRIBHCO
Sidco Garment Complex, Thiruvika Industrial Estate, Guidy,
CHENNAI-32
Regional Research Station
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University,
PIYUR-635 112
Via-Kaveripattinam
Dharmapuri District
( 04343-50043
Monarch Bio-Fertilisers and Research Centre
12, SIDCO Industrial Estate, Thirumazhisai,
CHENNAI-602 107 (TN)
( 6272780
Lakshmi Bio-Tech
Mr. V. Sithanandham
Nellikuppam Road, Thottapattu,
CUDDALORE-607 109 (TN)
( 04142-210136
Marygreen Afrotech (P) Ltd.
Dr. Y. Joe
5/302, Srisaibaba St., Santosh Nagar, Kandanchavadi, Perungudi Post,
CHENNAI-600 096 (TN)
 4964202, 4745957
e-mail: marygreen45@hotmail.com
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Prof. & Head
Deptt. of Agricultural Microbiology,
COIMBATORE-3 (TN)
( 431222 ext. 294 Fax: 0422-431672
e-mail: vctnau@vsnl.com
T Stanes & Company Limited
Dr. S. Ramarethinam
8/23-24, Race Course Road,
COIMBATORE-641 018 (TN)
( 0422-211514, 213515 Fax: 217432
e-mail: tstanes@vsnl.com
Esvin Advanced Technologies Limited
Mr. T. S. Venkataraman
“Esvin House” Perungudi,
CHENNAI-600 096 (TN)
( 4961056,4960690 Fax: 4961002
e-mail: tsv@vsnl.com
Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation Limited,
Mr. K. Raju
SPIC Ltd. Biotechnology Division, Chettiar Agaram Road, Gandhi Nagar, Porur,
CHENNAI-600 116 (TN)
( 044-4768064 Tele-Fax: 044-4767347
e-mail: biotech.por@spic.co.in
Biofertiliser Unit-Manali, Madras Fertilizers Limited
Mr. P. Mallikarjuna Reddy
Chief Manager –Bioproducts
Commercial Group, Madras Fertilizers Ltd., Manali,
CHENNAI-600 068 (TN)
( 044-5941001 ext. 2750 Fax: 5941010
e-mail: edcomm@mfl.tn.nic.in
Biofertilizer Production Unit
Mr. S. Murugan
Agricultural Chemist, Biofertilizer Production Unit, Seelanaickenpatty,
SALEM-636 201 (TN)
Biofertilizer Production Unit,
Mr.Thiru P. Raman
Agricultural Chemist, Biofertilizer Production Unit, 
KUDUMIAMALAI-622 104
Distt. Pudukkottai
Main Biocontrol Research Laboratory
(Unit of Tamilnadu Cooperative Sugar Federation)
2E/1, Rajeshwari Vedhachalam Street,
CHENGALPATTU-603 001 (TN)
( 04114-431393
The SIMA Cotton Development and Research  Association
Dr. M.A. Shanmugham
“Shanmukha Manram”, Post Box No. 3871, Race Course, 
COIMBATORE-641 018 (TN)
( 0422-211391 Tele-Fax: 0422-216798
 

7. Constraints in Biofertilizer Technolog

Though the biofertilizer technology is a low cost, ecofriendly technology, several constraints limit the application or  implementation of the technology the constraints may be environmental, technological, infrastructural, financial, human resources, unawareness, quality, marketing, etc. The different constraints in one way or other affecting the technique at production, or marketing or usage.

Technological constraints

  • Use of improper, less efficient strains for production.
  • Lack of qualified technical personnel in production units.
  • Unavailability of good quality carrier material or use of different carrier materials by different producers without knowing the quality of the materials.
  • Production of poor quality inoculants without understanding the basic microbiological techniques
  • Short shelf life of inoculants.

Infrastructural constraints

  • Non-availability of suitable facilities for production
  • Lack of essential equipments, power supply, etc.
  • Space availability for laboratory, production, storage, etc.
  • Lack of facility for cold storage of inoculant packets

Financial constraints

  • Non-availability of sufficient funds and problems in getting bank loans
  • Less return by sale of products in smaller production units.

Environmental constraints

  • Seasonal demand for biofertilizers
  • Simultaneous cropping operations and short span of sowing/planting in a particular locality
  • Soil characteristics like salinity, acidity, drought, water logging, etc.

Human resources and quality constraints

  • Lack of technically qualified staff in the production units.
  • Lack of suitable training on the production techniques.
  • Ignorance on the quality of the product by the manufacturer
  • Non-availability of quality specifications and quick quality control methods
  • No regulation or act on the quality of the products
  • Awareness on the technology
  • Unawareness on the benefits of the technology
  • Problem in the adoption of the technology by the farmers due to different methods of inoculation.
  • No visual difference in the crop growth immediately as that of inorganic fertilizers.

Awareness on the technology    

  • Unawareness on the benefits of the technology.
  • Problem in the adoption of the technology by the farmers due to  different methods of inoculation.
  • No visual difference in the crop growth immediately as that of inorganic fertilizers.
  • Unawareness on the damages caused on the ecosystem by continuous application of inorganic fertilizer.

Marketing constraints

  • Non availability of right inoculant at the right place in right time.
  • Lack of retain outlets or the market network for the producers.

8. Biofertilizer strains developed from TNAU

Azospirillum Strains
Normal soils Az. 204
Acid soils Az Y2
Dry lands Azt. 11
Paddy Az 204 (Azospiriluml lipoferum)
Other Crops Az Sp 7 (Azospirilum brasilense)
Azotobacter  
All Crops Az1 (Azotobacter chroococcum)
Gluconacetobacter  
Sugarcane Pal 5 (Gluconacetobacter diazotropicus)
Rhizobium  
Groundnut TNAU 14
Soybean Cos 1
Cowpea Coc 10
Redgram Cc 1, CPR 9
Greengram &Blackgram COG 15, BMBS 47
GMBS 1
Greengram COG15
Bengalgram CoBe 13
Tree Legumes ALM 16
Phosphobacteria  
All crops PB 1, PS 1 (Bacillus megaterium)
Potash Bacteria KRB 9 (Bacillus muscilagenosus)
   
 

9. Economics

The increasing demand for the biofertilizers and the awareness among farmers and planters in the use of biofertilizers have paved way for the fertilizer manufactures and new entrepreneurs to get into biofertilizer production. A number of biofertilizer production units have been started recently particularly in the southern states of our country.

Nationalized banks have started their Hi-Tech agricultural programme providing loan and motivated the entrepreneurs to start their own production units. The Government of India is also encouraging this low cost technology by providing a subsidy upto Rs.20 lakhs to start a production unit with the capacity of 150 metric tonnes per annum. However, we are all aware that the success of the project entirely depends on the economic viability. With the objective of giving an overall economics of the biofertilizer production and sales, an approximate estimate is prepared.

Total estimate for starting a biofertilizer production unit with the capacity of 150 metric tonnes/annum.

S. No.                Particulars Amount (Rs.in lakhs)
I. Expenditure*  
A. Capital Investment (Fixed cost)  
i. Building including cost of site (App. 1200 sq. ft.) 12.00
ii. Equipment and apparatus 41.00
B. Operational cost (variable cost)  
i. Working capital (Raw materials) 10.00
ii. Staff salary 2.04
iii. Labour 2.50
iv. Electricity 0.50
v. Travelling expenses 0.50
vi. Administrative expenses 0.50
vii. Interest on loan and depreciation 0.70
viii. Miscellaneous expenses 0.26
  Total (variable cost) 17.00
  Total investment 70.00
  Actual initial investment 50.00

    * The expenditures does not include the marketing expenses

 Expenditure details   (Rupees in lakhs)

S.No. Equipment and apparatus Qty (Nos.) Amount (Rs.in lakhs)
1. Fermentor (200 lit. capacity) 4 26.00
2. Shaker 2 1.50
3. Laminar air flow chamber 1 0.60
4. Autoclave 2 0.30
5. Hot air oven 1 0.10
6. Incubator 1 0.10
7. Refrigerator 1 0.30
8. Microscope 1 0.75
9. pH meter 1 0.15
10. Physical balance 1 0.10
11. Electronic balance 1 0.75
12. Counter-poise balance 5 0.25
13. Sealing machine 5 0.25
14. Work benches 4 0.30
15. Plastic trays 50 0.25
16. Trays (Zinc/Aluminium) 10 0.20
17. Trolley 1 0.10
18. Automatic packing  machine (optional) 1 9.00
  Total   41.00

Working capital

cost of mother culture

:

0.05
Glasswares

:

0.70
Chemicals

:

2.50
Polythene bags

:

3.50
Carrier materials

:

3.00
Miscellaneous items

:

0.25
Total

:

10.00

Staff salary

Technical staff (1 No.) : 9000 x 12 1,08,000
Laboratory staff (2 Nos.) : 4000 x 2 x 12 96,000

Total

   

2,04,000

II.  Production

60% capacity : 90 MT per year
75% capacity :

112.5 MT per year

100% capacity

: 150 MT per year

III.  Receipts

Cost of 1 kg of biofertilizer 
(present Govt./University rate)

:

Rs.25/-
Cost of 90 MT (60% capacity)

:

22.500 lakh rupees

112.5 MT (75% capacity)

:

28.125 lakh rupees
135 MT (90% capacity)

:

33.750 lakh rupees
150 MT (100% capacity)

 

37.500 lakh rupees

IV. Profitability

Year Production Receipt (Lakh Rs.) Expenditure (Lakh Rs.) Gain (Lakh Rs.)
I 60% 22.500 50.000 -27.500
II 75% 28.125 18.700* 9.425
III 90% 33.750 20.570* 13.180
IV 100% 37.500 22.630* 14.870
  Profit anticipated after 4 years 9.975

*Every year 10% increase in the expenditure is calculated to balance the price escalation

Economics of AM biofertilizer – Mass production

Capital cost ( for construction of pits size of 4x 3×1.5 ft including construction material sand labour cost) Rs.3,000/-
Inoculum cost ( from TNAU) 20 KG @ Rs.20/- per kg Rs.400/-
Vermiculite cost (including transport charges) 500kg@ Rs.6.50 Rs.3,250/-
Labour cost-Since it is a single pit, family members can look after  
NA
Seed materials and mesh for covering for pits Rs.100+100
Quality control charges at TNAU (This will be done after 1 year and before selling the product & need not be carried out after each harvest) Rs.1,000/-
Bag- cost of packing the materials-30 @ Rs.10 each
Labour cost of harvesting and packing
Rs.300/-
Rs.200/-
Total Rs.8,350/-
Benefit expected by the sale of produced inoculum 500kg @ Rs.20/- per kg (In TNAU) Rs.35/- per kg ( In Private) Rs.10,000/- 
Rs.17,500/-
Net Income ( First harvest)                                                               Rs.10,000-8,350( Sl.No.8 – Sl.No 1 to 7)
Rs.17,500-8,350
Rs.1,197/-
Rs.9,150/-
For the II harvest  the cost will be Rs.4,950/-
From the second harvest benefit will be of
Rs.10,000/ – Rs.4,950/
Rs.17,500/ – Rs.4,950/
Rs. 5,050/-
Rs.12,550/-
The Net Income for one year will be 
Rs.50,000/ -Rs.24,750/
Rs.87,500/ -Rs.24,750/
Rs.25,250/-
Rs.62,750/-
 

10. Cost and availability of Biofertilizers

Name of Biofertilizers Cost of Biofertilizers Availabilty
Azospirillum Rs.40/Kg Professor and Head
Department of Agricultural Microbiology 
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University
Coimbatore – 641 003
Phone: 91-422-6611294
Fax: 91-422-2431672
Email: microbiology@tnau.ac.in
Liquid Biofertilizer Rs.300/lit
Phosphobacteria Rs.40/Kg
Rhizobium Rs.40/Kg
Azotobacter Rs.40/Kg
VAM Rs.30/Kg
Azolla Rs.5/Kg
 

Source

Entrepreurial Training Manual
The Professor and Head
Department of Microbiology
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, 
Coimbatore-3