About this Research Topic
The human population is projected to reach 9.5 billion by the year 2050 and will demand at least a 50% additional increase in global food production. The increasing population will also compel the enhanced production of fodder, fibre and biomass for producing biofuel. Apart from that, climate change may also induce various biotic and abiotic stresses in the near future. This may lead to an increase in the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to protect the crops under such adversaries. However, the indiscriminate use of agrochemicals would further result in the widespread pollution of the biosphere. Moreover, synthetic agrochemicals are not affordable to farmers in low-resource environments. Therefore, it is imperative to develop sustainable agricultural practices to meet the food requirements of the growing population while considerably reducing environmental pollution.
In this backdrop, the plant growth promoting microorganisms (PGPMs; the microorganisms that support plant life by providing vital nutrients to the plants and protecting the plant from various biotic and abiotic stresses) can be harnessed as a tool for sustainable agriculture as their applications help to not only increase soil fertility, agricultural production, and food and nutritional quality, but also to improve agroecosystem functions. They are indeed the most natural inhabitants of the rhizosphere keeping the whole rhizosphere system alive by facilitating the ionic and metabolic exchanges and nutrient solubilization and mobilization. It also shapes the soil microbiome through myriads of signaling molecules and provides tolerance against biotic and abiotic stresses to crops. This is why the applicability of PGPMs holds a great promise in sustainable agriculture.
While there is growing momentum regarding the use of such organisms as biofertilizers and biopesticides, with extensive research being carried out worldwide to study PGPMs role in agricultural sustainability, there are still many bottlenecks preventing their large-scale exploitation. The current Research Topic is aimed to invite original research/review/opinion/perspective articles related to:
• High throughput methods for isolation, screening and characterization of promising PGPMs
• Large scale production technologies at farm or industrial level
• Nanobiotechnology/Nano-Encapsulation of PGPMS for improving effective delivery
• Innovations in enhancing shelf life of PGPM formulations
• Technical and policy issues hindering the large scale-commercialization of PGPMs and possible solutions
• Development of biosafety guidelines and biodiversity considerations
Keywords: Plant growth promoting microorganisms, Microbial formulations, Sustainable agriculture, Biofertilizers, Biopesticides, Nanobiotechnology, Biosafety, Green products, Environmental Sustainability
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