Emergence of diverse microbes on application of biofilmed biofertilizers to a maize growing soil

Aruni Udugama Vithanage, A.R.W.P.K. Athauda, Gamini Seneviratne, SA Kulasooriya, CL Abayasekara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Diverse microbial communities in the rhizosphere perform an amazing role in plant growth and productivity.However, conventional agricultural practices such as the use of chemical fertilizer (CF) and tillage havecollapsed the diversity of the microbial communities. Direct application of developed fungal-bacterialcommunities known as biofilmed biofertilizers (BFBFs) to the soil has been introduced recently, andobserved to be multi-functional and more effective than conventional biofertilizers. However, the effect ofsuch biofertilizers on soil microbial diversity has not been studied sufficiently world over. Therefore, thecurrent study was carried out to investigate the effects BFBFs on bacterial, cyanobacterial and fungal speciesin a maize growing soil. A pot experiment was conducted under greenhouse conditions with differentfertilizer treatments; 100% chemical fertilizers (CF) recommended for maize, 50% CF, 50% CF + BFBF,and no fertilizer, as the control. Microbial species richness and abundance of bacteria were evaluated aftertwo months of plant growth. Microbial biomass carbon (MBC) was estimated by using chloroformfumigation-extraction technique. Results showed that the species richness of bacteria, fungi andcyanobacteria, and abundance of bacteria were higher in 50% CF + BFBF, compared to 50% and 100% CF.This implies that the action of BFBFs tends to break dormancy of microbial seeds in the soil, resulting in emergence of a diverse microbial community, which may support natural biocontrol of pathogens. An interesting observation was the stimulation of an additional microflora of cyanobacteria by the application of BFBF. MBC levels did not show a significant difference between any of the treatments. We recommend further testing of the BFBFs for increasing microbial diversity and ecosystem functioning and hence the sustainability of maize cultivating agroecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-94
Number of pages8
JournalCeylon Journal of Science. Biological Sciences
Volume42
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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