ArticlePDF Available

Abstract

Biotechnology is the rapidly growing segment in biological sciences. It has diversified applications in sustainable agriculture. The review deals with microbes in biotechnology and their diversified applications in agriculture as biofertilizers, bio-pesticides, bio-herbicides, bioinsecticides, fungal based bioinsecticides and viral based bioinsecticides. Further, precise descriptions have been made on Microbiology Ecology Biotechnology and Sustainable agriculture in the later part of the review. Finally, a brief highlight has been given on the role of Microbial Biotechnology on Environmental Health
The Internet Journal of Microbiology ISSN: 1937-8289
Biotechnology: Role Of Microbes In Sustainable Agriculture And
Environmental Health
Suraiya Binte Mosttafiz Department of Agricultural Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry,
University of Helsinki
Mizanur Rahman Department of Energy Technology, Energy Economics Group, Aalto University School
of Engineering Espoo Finland
Mostafizur Rahman De partment of Medical Microbiology & Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, The
National University of Malaysia C heras Kuala Lumpur
Citation: S..B. Mosttafiz , M. Rahman , M. Rahman : Biotechnology: Role Of Microbes In Sustainable
Agriculture And Environmental Health. The Internet Journal of Microbiology . 2012 Volume 10 Number 1
Keywor ds:
Abstract
Biotechnology is the rapidly growing segment in biological sciences. It has diversified applications in
sustainable agriculture. The review deals with microbes in biotechnology and their diversified
applications in agriculture as biofertilizers, bio-pesticides, bio-herbicides, bioinsecticides, fungal based
bioinsecticides and viral based bioinsecticides. Further, precise descriptions have been made on
Microbiology Ecology Biotechnology and Sustainable agriculture in the later part of the rev iew. Finally, a
brief highlight has be en given on the role of Microbial Biotechnology on Environmental Health
Introduction
Biotechnology is the branch of biological science, which deals with the manipulation through genetic
engineering of living organisms or their components to produce useful products for various applications
in biological sciences.
The world's population is estimated to be double by the end of 2033. Food demand in Asia is expected
to exceed the need by the end of 2010. This poses a great challenge to agricultural sy stems.
Traditional farming equipment and practices are reaching their limits of effectiveness in increasing
agricultural productivity. As countries develop, people are also demanding more and better food. These
pressures are multiplied by shrinking farmland, rising labour costs and shortage of farm workers.
Biotechnology offers an additional me thod to improve the sustainability of existing system to produce
more and better quality of our agricultural products.. The potential benefits of plant biotechnology are
numerous and include providing resistance to crop pests, increasing crop yield and reducing chemical
pesticide usage. The processing of food and food ingredients using biotechnology provides a wide
variety of fermented foods and food ingredients that are extensively used. Agricultural technologies
that e nsured a ‘green revolution’ in the middle of 20th century, causing now high ecological cost and
contributing global pollution, unfavourable climate change and loss of biodiversity (Vance, 1998). The
broad application of microbes in sustainable agriculture is due to the genetic dependency of plants on
the beneficial functions provided by sy mbiotic cohabitants (Noble & Ruaysoongnern, 2010).Therefore,
microbial biotechnology and its applications in sustainable development of agriculture and
environmental he alth are getting better attention. The purpose of the rev iew is to further prioritize the
importance in the scientific community as well as stakeholders.
Microbes and biotechnology
Microbes / micro-organisms are mostly micropsic small creatures are placed in different groups such
bacteria, fungi, protozoa, micro-algae and viruses. These organisms live in soil, water, food, animal
intestines and other different environments. Various microbial habitats reflect an enormous diversity of
biochemical and metabolic traits that hav e arisen by genetic variation and natural selection in microbial
populations.
Men used some of microbial diversity in the production of fermented foods such as bread, yogurt, and
cheese. Some soil microbes release nitrogen that plants need for growth and emit gases that maintain
the critical composition of the Earth's atmosphere.
Other microbes challenge the food supply by causing yield-reducing diseases in food-producing plants
and animals. In our bodies, different microbes help to digest food, ward off invasive organisms, and
engage in skirmishes and pitched battles with the human immune system in the give-and-take of the
natural disease process.
A genome is the totality of genetic material in the DNA of a particular organism. Genomes differ greatly
in size and sequence across different organisms. Obtaining the complete genome sequence of a
microbe provides crucial information about its biology, but it is only the first step toward understanding
a microbe's biological capabilities and modifying them, if needed, for agricultural purposes.
Microbial biotechnology, enabled by genome studies, will lead to breakthroughs such as improved
vaccines and better disease-diagnostic tools, improved microbial agents for biological control of plant
and animal pests, modifications of plant and animal pathogens for reduced virulence, development of
new industrial catalysts and fermentation organisms, and development of new microbial agents for
bioremediation of soil and water contaminated by agricultural runoff
(http://microbialbiotechnology.puchd.ac.in).
Microbial biotechnology is an important area that promotes for advances in food safety, food security,
value -added products, human nutrition and functional foods, plant and animal protection, and overall
fundamental research in the agricultural sciences.
Microbial biotechnology and its applications in agriculture
Natural fermentation
Micro-organisms found in the soil to improve agricultural productivity. Men use naturally occurring
organisms to develop biofertilizers and bio-pesticides to assist plant growth and control wee ds, pests,
and diseases.
Micro-organisms that live in the soil actually help plants to absorb more nutrients. Plants and these
friendly microbes are involved in “nutrient recycling”. The microbes help the plant to “take up” essential
energy sources. In return, plants donate their waste by-products for the microbes to use for food.
Scientists use these friendly micro-organisms to develop biofertilizers.
Biofertilizers
Phosphate and nitrogen are important for the growth of plants. These compounds exist naturally in the
environment but plants have a limited ability to extract them. Phosphate plays an important role in crop
stress tolerance, maturity, quality and directly or indirectly, in nitrogen fixation. A fungus, Penicillium
bilaii helps to unlock phosphate from the soil. It make s an organic acid, which dissolves the phosphate
in the soil so that the roots can use it. Biofertilizer made from this organism is applied by either coating
seeds with the fungus as inoculation, or putting it directly into the ground. Rhizobium is a bacteria used
to make biofertilizers. This bacterium lives on the plant's roots in cell collections called nodules. The
nodules are biological factories that can tak e nitrogen out of the air and convert it into an organic form
that the plant can use.
This fertilization method has been designed by nature. With a large population of the friendly bacteria
on its roots, the legume can use naturally-occurring nitrogen instead of the expensive traditional
nitrogen fertilizer.
Biofe rtilizers help plants use all of the food available in the soil and air, thus allowing farmers to reduce
the amount of chemical fertilizers they use. This helps preserve the environment for the generations to
come .
Bio-pesticides
Microorganisms found in the soil are all not so friendly to plants. These pathogens can cause disease or
damage the plant. As scientists developed biological “tools,” which use these disease-causing microbe s
to control weeds and pests naturally.
Bio-herbicides
Weeds are the problem for farmers. They not only compete with crops for water, nutrients, sunlight,
and space but also harbor insect and disease pests; clog irrigation and drainage systems; undermine
crop quality; and deposit weed seeds into crop harvests.
Bio-herbicides are another way of controlling wee ds without environmental hazards posed by sy nthetic
herbicides. The microbes posse ss invasive genes that can attack the defence genes of the wee ds,
thereby killing it.
The benefit of using bioherbicides is that it can surv ive in the environment long enough for the next
growing season whe re there will be more weeds to infect. It is cheaper than synthetic pesticides thus
could essentially reduce farming expenses if managed properly. Further, it is not harmful to the
environment compared to conventional herbicides and will not affect non-target organisms.
Bioinsecticides
Biotechnology can also help in developing alternative controls to synthetic insecticides to fight against
insect pests. Micro-organisms in the soil that will attack fungi, viruses or bacteria, which cause root
diseases. Formulas for coatings on the seed (inoculants) which carry these beneficial organisms can be
developed to protect the plant during the critical seedling stage.
Bioinsecticides do not persist long in the environment and have shorter shelf lives; they are effective in
small quantities, safer to humans and animals compared to synthetic insecticides; they are very
specific, often affecting only a single species of insect and have a very specific mode of action; slow in
action and the timing of their application is relatively critical.
Fungal- bioinsecticides
Fungi cause diseases in some 200 different insects and this disease producing traits of fungi is being
used as bioinsecticides.
Fermentation technology is used to mass production of fungi. Spores are harvested and packaged so
these are applied to insect-ridden fields. When the spores are applied, they use enzymes to break
through the outer surface of the insects' bodies. Once inside, they begin to grow and eventually cause
death.
Fungal agents are recommended by some researche rs as having the best potential for long-term insect
control. This is because these bioinsecticides attack in a variety of way s at once, making it very difficult
for insects to develop resistance.
Virus-Based Bioinsecticides
Baculoviruses affect insect pests like corn borers, potato beetles, flea beetles and aphids. One
particular strain is being use d as a control agent for bertha army worms, which attack canola, flax, and
vegetable crops. Traditional insecticides do not affect the worm until after it has reached this stage and
by then much of the damage has been done.
Microbiology Ecology Biotechnology and Sustainable Agriculture
Now increasing attention has been paid to the dev elopment of sustainable agriculture in which the high
productivities of plants and animals are ensured using their natural adaptive potentials, with a minimal
disturbance of the environment (Noble & Ruaysoongnern, 2010). It is our view that the most promising
strategy to reach this goal is to substitute hazardous agrochemicals (mineral fertilizers, pe sticides) with
environment-friendly preparations of symbiotic microbes, which could improve the nutrition of crops
and livestock, as well as their protection from biotic (pathogens, pests) and abiotic (including pollution
and climatic change) stresses (Yang et al., 2009).
Therefore, agricultural microbiology is the present paramount research field responsible for the
transfer of knowledge from general microbiology and microbial ecology to the agricultural
biotechnologies. The present review is focussed on plants, but also emphasises the importance of
micro-organisms in relation to agriculture and environmental health (Wang et al., 2009) and to the
biocontrol of phy tophagans (Mohammed et al., 2008).
The broad application of microbes in sustainable agriculture is due to the genetic dependency of plants
on the beneficial functions provided by symbiotic cohabitants (Noble & Ruaysoongnern, 2010). The
agronomic potential of plant–microbial symbioses proceeds from the analysis of their ecological
impacts, which have been best studied for N2 fixing (Franche et al., 2009). This analysis has been
based on ‘applied co-evolutionary research’ (Arnold et al., 2010), addressing the ecological and
molecular mechanisms for mutual adaptation and parallel speciation of plant and microbial partners.
For plant–fungal interactions, it has been demonstrated that the host genotype represents the leading
factor in the biogeographic distribution of mycobionts and for their evolution within the
mutualistantagonist and specialistgeneralist continua (Peay et al., 2010).
The major impact of agricultural microbiology on sustainable agriculture would be to substitute
agrochemicals (mineral fertilizers, pesticides) with microbial preparations. However, this substitution is
usually partial and only sometimes may be complete, e .g. in recently dome sticated leguminous crops,
which retain a high potential for symbiotrophic N nutrition, typical for many wild legumes (Provorov &
Tikhonovich, 2003). The application of nutritional symbionts could be base d on plant mixotrophy, e.g.
on a simultaneous symbiotrophic and combined N nutrition. This is why the max imal productivity of the
majority of crops is reached using an optimal (species- and genotype-specific) combination of both
nutritional types because of which a high sustainability of legume production may be achieved
(Provorov et al., 1998). Moreover, the energy costs for N2 fixation and for assimilation of combined N
differ by less than 10% (Andrews et al., 2009). The balance between symbiotrophic and combined N
nutrition may be improved by a rapid removal of N-compounds from the actively N2-fixing symbiose s,
as has been suggested for tropical forest ecosystems (Hedin et al., 2009).
This approach is most promising in legume–rhizobia symbioses where the strong correlations between
the ecological efficiency of mutualism and its genotypic specificity are evide nt (Provorov & Vorobyov,
2010b
At present, a wide spectrum of preparations of diverse microbial species may be used to enhance crop
production (Andrews et al., 2010). However, different approaches for improving the nutritional and
defensive types of microbial mutualists need to be developed. For the nutritional types, an effective
colonisation of plants in a host-specific manner is optimal and the impacts of beneficial symbionts are
increased in parallel with their host specificity (Provorov & Vorobyov, 2009).
The application of microbial symbiotic signals or their derivatives for remodelling plant deve lopmental
or de fensiv e functions may represent a promising field for agricultural biotechnology.
The prospects for a future development of agricultural microbiology may involve the construction of
novel multipartite endo- and e cto-symbiotic communities based on extended genetic and molecular
(metagenomic) analyses. The primary approach for such construction is to create composite inoculants,
which simulate the natural plant-associated microbial communities. For balancing the host plant
metabolism, a combination of N- and P-providing symbionts would appear promising, including the
endosymbiotic rhizobia + VAM-fungi (Shtark et al., 2010),
The further development of agricultural microbiology faces several important ecological and genetic
challenges imposed by the broad application of symbiotic microbes. Some of these challenges are
associated with opportunistic or ev en regular human pathogens, which are frequently found in
endophytic communities, including Bacillus, Burkholderia, Enterobacter, Escherichia, Klebsiella,
Salmonella and Staphylococcus species ( Ryan et al., 2008).
An increased knowledge of microbe-based symbioses in plants could provide effective ways of
developing sustainable agriculture in order to ensure human and animal food production with a minimal
disturbance of the environment. The effective management of symbiotic microbial communities is
possible using molecular approaches based on the continuity of microbial pools which are circulating
regularly between soil-, plant- and animal-provided niches in natural and agricultural ecosystems
(Kupriy anov et al., 2010; Analysis of this circulation could enable the creation of highly productive
microbe-based sustainable agricultural system, whilst addressing the ecological and genetic
conse quence s of the broad application of microbes in agricultural practice
Environmental health and Microbial biotechnology
Bruce Rittmann, director of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology in the Biodesign Institute at
ASU, addressed the challenges and solution of environmental health by manipulation of
microbes(http//:www.biodesign.asu.edu)
Their solution: a synergistic marriage of two distinct disciplines, microbial ecology and environmental
biotechnology. “Together, they offer much promise for helping society deal with some of its greatest
challenges in environmental quality, sustainability, security, and human health,” Rittmann stated in an
excerpt from the paper(http//:www.biodesign.asu.edu)
Leading the marriage are revolutionary changes in compiling vast amounts of genetic information on
microbial organisms through state-of-the-art DNA-based technique s. Identifying just a single microbial
specimen is a daunting task, considering, that there may be trillions of bacteria in ev ery litre of water.
To aid in the identification and function of indiv idual micro-organisms and communities, the first use of
modern molecular biology tools began in the early 1980s, with the advent of poly merase chain reaction
(PC R) amplification of microbial DNA and a new view of the ev olution of organisms based on their
ribosomal RNA.
These technologies have advanced into high-throughput genomic and proteomic protocols that can
detect specific genes and their metabolic functions with great precision and detail. Other methods can
now reconstruct entire genomes of what were once “uncultivable” microbes.
With recent advances in biology, materials, computing, and engineering, environmental
biotechnologists now are able to use microbial communities for a wealth of services to society. These
include detoxifying contaminated water, wastewater, sludge, sediment, or soil; capturing renewable
energy from biomass; sensing contaminants or pathogens; and protecting the public from dangerous
exposure to pathogens.
“Scientifically, it might be easiest to let the microbes convert the energy is organic wastes directly to
electricity. Howeve r, they also can generate useful fuels, such as methane and hy drogen, and we are
pursuing research on all of these renewable-energy forms.”
Rittman hoped the success in capturing the energy out of waste materials, this would be a world-
transforming technology and a real step forward to using more re newable forms of energy and much
less reliance on fossil fuel.”
References
Andrews M., Hodge S., Raven J.A. (2010) Positive plant microbial interactions. Annals of Applied
Biology, 157, 317–320.
Arnold A.E., Mamit L.J., Gehring C .A., Bidartondo M.I., Callahan H. (2010) Interwoven branches of the
plant and fungal trees of life. New Phytologist, 185, 874–878.
Bruce Rittmann, director of the Center for Environmental Biotechnology in the Biodesign Institute at
ASU, http//:www.biodesign.asu.edu.C enter for Environmental Biotechnology
Franche C., Lindstrom K., Elmerich C. (2009) Nitrogen-fixing bacteria associated with leguminous and
non-leguminous plants. Plant and Soil, 321, 35–59.
http://www.csrees.usda.gov/nea/biotech/in_focus/biotechnology_if_microbial.html
http://microbialbiotechnology.puchd.ac.in: C entre for Microbial Biotechnology
Hedin L.O., Brook shire E.N.J., Menge D.N.L., Barron A.R. (2009) The nitrogen paradox in tropical forest
ecosystems. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 40, 613–635.
Kupriy anov A.A., Semenov A.M., Van Bruggen A.H.C . (2010) Transition of entheropathogenic and
saprotrophic bacteria in the niche cycle: animals–excre ment–soil–plants–animals. B iology Bulletin, 3,
263–267
Mohammed S.H., Seady M.A., Enan M.R., Ibrahim N.E., Ghareeb A., Moustafa S.A. (2008) Biocontrol
efficiency of Bacillus thuringiensis toxins against root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita. Journal of
Cell and Molecular Biology, 7, 57–66.
Noble A.D ., Ruaysoongne rn S. (2010) The nature of sustainable agriculture. In S oil Microbiology and
Sustainable C rop Production, pp. 1–25. Eds R.Dixon and E.Tilston. Berlin, Heidelberg, Germany:
Springer Science and Business Media B.V
Peay K.G., Bidartondo M.I., Arnold A.E. (2010) Not every fungus is every where: scaling to the
biogeography of fungal–plant interactions across roots, shoots and ecosystems. New Phytologist, 185,
878–882.
Provorov N.A., Saimnazarov U.B., Bahromov I.U., Pulatova D.Z., Kozhemyakov A.P., Kurbanov G.A.
(1998) Effect of rhizobia inoculation on the seed (herbage) production of mungbean (Phaseolus aureus
Roxb.) grown at Uzbekistan. Journal of Arid Environments, 39, 569–575.
Provorov N.A., Vorobyov N.I. (2009) Host plant as an organizer of microbial evolution in the beneficial
symbioses. Phytochemistry Reviews, 8, 519–534
Provorov N.A., Vorobyov N.I. (2010b) S imulation of evolution implemented in the mutualistic
symbioses towards enhancing their ecological efficiency, functional integrity and genotypic specificity.
Theoretical Population B iology, 78, 259–269
Provorov N.A., Tikhonovich I.A. (2003) Genetic resources for improving nitrogen fixation in legume
rhizobia symbiosis. Genetic Resources and C rop Evolution, 50, 89–99.
Ryan R.P., Germaine K., Franks A., Ryan D.J., Dowling D.N. (2008) Bacterial endophytes: recent
developme nts and applications. FEMS Microbiology Letters, 278, 1–9.
Shtark O.Y., Borisov A.Y., Zhukov V.A., Provorov N.A., Tikhonovich I.A. (2010) Intimate associations of
beneficial soil microbes with host plants. Soil Microbiology and Sustainable C rop Production, pp.
119–196. Eds R.Dix on and E.Tilston. Berlin, Heidelberg, Germany: Springer Science and Business
Media B.V
Vance C .P. (1998) Legume symbiotic nitrogen fixation: agronomic aspects. In The Rhizobiaceae.
Molecular B iology of Model Plant-Associated Bacteria, pp. 509–530. Eds H.P.Spaink, A.Kondorosi and
P.J.J.Hooykaas. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers
Wang H.R., Wang M.Z., Yu L.H. (2009) Effects of dietary protein sources on the rumen microorganisms
and fermentation of goats. Journal of Animal and Veterinary Advances, 7, 1392–1401
Yang J., Kloepper J.W., Ryu C .M. (2009) Rhizosphere bacteria help plants tole rate abiotic stress. Trends
in Plant Science, 14, 1–4
Generated at: Wed, 30 May 2012 06:18:03 -0500 (00002b91) — http://www.ispub.com:80/journal/the-
internet-journal-of-microbiology/v olume-10-number-1/biotechnology-role-of-microbes-in-sustainable-
agriculture-and-environmental-health.html
... At the end of 2033, the increased human population will create demands for food and shelter. This poses a great challenge to the agricultural system to solve the problem of food demand (Mosttafiz et al. 2012). It has been estimated by the United Nations Population Fund that the global human population may reach 10 billion by 2050. ...
... We know that chemical fertilizer also helps to increase crop yield but they contribute to spoilage of soil health by altering the chemical composition, microbial flora, and affecting biodiversity and its ecosystem (Wall et al. 2015). This poses a huge challenge to a sustainable agricultural system in solving the food demand problem (Mosttafiz et al. 2012). According to Barea (2015), the demand for agricultural production is expected to rise at least 70% by 2050. ...
Chapter
Microbial biotechnology is an emerging field with greater applications in diverse sectors involving food security, human nutrition, plant protection, and overall basic research in the agricultural sciences. The environment has been sustaining the burden of mankind since decades and indiscriminate use of the resources has led to the degradation of the environment, loss of soil fertility, and has created a need for sustainable strategies. The major focus in the coming decades would be on a green and clean environment by utilizing the plant-associated beneficial microbial communities. These beneficial microbial communities represent a novel and promising solution for a sustainable environment. Microbial communities possess a huge sink of mechanisms by which they act as biofertilizers, bioprotectants, and biostimulants as well as the alleviators of abiotic stress conditions. Thus, utilizing plant-associated microbiomes will surely support sustainable agriculture thereby reducing the production costs and environmental pollution. The present chapter exclusively concluded the horizon covered book content of microbial biotechnology for sustainable agriculture
... Micro and macro-biota rich soil and fill the nutrient value by nitrogen fixation, phosphate and potassium solubilization or mineralization, help in the release of plant growth regulating compounds, producing anti infection agent (antibiotics) and biodegradable organic substance in the soil. Microbial biotechnology and its applications are getting better attention in the sustainable development of microbial biotechnology and agriculture and environmental health (Mosttafiz et al. 2012). A broad understanding of the mechanisms controlling the selection and activity of microbial communities by the roots of plants will provide new opportunities for increase crop production in sustainable agricultural system. ...
... During the last century, soil research has focused largely on chemical and physical factors of soil with regard to biological neglect. As a result, there is limited understanding about dynamics and capitalization on the possibilities of soil biology to increase the Renaissance potential of soil ecosystem for durable agriculture (Mosttafiz et al. 2012). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
For the vital functioning of soil ecosystem, microbes have always been the superior force in driving many processes. These microorganisms are the main key facilitators in nutrient cycles associated with plant root system by delivering nutrients and suppressing pathogens, thereby sustaining plant health. Their amazing activity and biochemical versatility, especially the roots of growing plants, show great potential for beneficial microorganisms, for the development of biotechnology applications, for the control of plants of wild plants and for increased food crops. In this chapter we review the existing literature on the interaction between plants, microorganisms and soil. The rhizosphere is an arena where the complex rhizosphere community, which includes both microflora and microfauna, communicates with pathogens and influences the outcome of pathogen infection. A number of microorganisms are advantageous to the plants which include nitrogen-fixing bacteria, endo- and ectomycorrhizal fungi and plant growth-promoting bacteria and fungi. Some of the activities include complex systems of communication, in case of symbiosis such as arbuscular microscopic symbiosis, many millions of years old, while others include exudates from the root and other products of the rhizodeposition which are used as substrates for soil microorganisms. Since degradation of organic compounds in the rhizosphere is encouraged by the release of root expressions and enzymes in plants, therefore, biodegradation plays an important role, depending on the contact between the soil and the contaminated substances surrounding the plants. There is a considerable potential in the expanded area of microorganisms to replace synthetic biological chemistry. Since microbial activities are an important and sensitive component of soil, they are also good indicators of soil disorder and ecosystem. Still, an extended use of microorganisms for bioindication purposes and sustainable means of soil management depends on advances in understanding microbial ecology, especially on a field scale. As a result, to enhance the regenerative capacity of soil ecosystems for sustainable agriculture, it is best to understand how to increase the dynamics and potential of soil biology. This will allow new applications of knowledge to address the challenges of pest and diseases and increase global food production and sustainable farming.
... For the control of insects, the spores of the Fungi microorganisms as bio-insecticides are a very promising option, since they are responsible for causing diseases to more than 200 different insects (Mostafiz 2012). For its action as an insecticide, the spores of selected Fungi are applied in the fields affected by insects. ...
Chapter
Microbes encompass a wide range of a group of bacteria, archaea, protists, fungi, and viruses. The term microbes is commonly related to side effects. However, the advances in the biology branch have promoted the application of microbes in almost unlimited fields. Microorganisms can be classified into prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) and eukaryotes (Protist and Fungi). Prokaryotes can survive in extreme conditions. They are employed as biofactories. However, eukaryotes have been used in the agroindustry and for some medical purposes. Besides, viruses are a type of microbes that are commonly applied in the medical industry. This chapter describes the application of microbes in several fields with great importance. Besides, new techniques with better sensibility and reduced costs are required to study and the understanding of the microbes. The versatility of these microbes has enhanced the study and application of them in biotechnology, industry, and medical field.
... Therefore, strains with biotechnological potential could be used as microbial factories to produce various compounds to facilitate the transition towards a sustainable bioeconomy, and to promote the achievement of sustainable development goals (especially SDG no. 2, 3, 9 and 12), due to the cost-effective technologies, and their reduced CO2 emissions and environmental footprints, when compared with petrochemical-based products. The efforts of modern biotechnology need to be continued, to ensure both the necessities of a sustainable industrial growth and public acceptance, at the same time playing a crucial role for innovation progress and applicability (MOSTTAFIZ et al, 2012;LOKKO et al, 2018). ...
Article
Biotechnology, molecular biology and genetic engineering, and bioprospecting play a crucial role in our common future, enabling industrially important microorganisms to ensure sustainable products (fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food, drug delivery systems, medical devices etc.) and new bioeconomic opportunities. Biotechnological applications are able to provide cost-effective green alternatives to conventional industrial processes, which are currently affecting the nature and biodiversity. Klebsiella species are among the well-studied microbes both in medicine field, as ones of the most resilient opportunistic pathogens, and in industry, due to their promising biochemical properties, and their potential as better hosts than other microorganisms, for i.e. in genetic manipulation. Klebsiella oxytoca and Klebsiella pneumoniae are ubiquitously found in natural environments, but also as commensals in the human gut, and associated with a high-resistance to the first-line antibiotics. However, these specific strains are continuously isolated and studied for different industrial purposes (i.e. bulk chemicals and biofuels production, medical diagnosis, nanoparticles and exopolysaccharides synthesis, plant growth promoting activities, bioremediation and biodegradation agents etc.), and scientific results regarding their biotechnological potential could generate big impact for global bioeconomy development. Recently, research in synthetic biology gained a lot of attention, and new techniques highlight ways to reprogramme these microbial cells in view of high-yield or high-quality new chemicals obtainment. Therefore, some scientific research niches are emerging in biotechnology, and unknown metabolic pathways and genes are identified and further studied, to provide alternative solutions to the global challenges.
... Indigenous Microorganisms (IMOs) are communities of microorganisms that live together in a specific location [1]. IMOs have been reported to be important to agricultural sector to improve productivity either directly or indirectly in the development of bio-fertilisers and bio-pesticides [2]. Each microorganism in IMOs plays their specific functional roles in nutrient cycle to improve soil fertility to sustain the growth of agricultural plants based on their potential in biodegradation, nitrogen fixation and phosphate solubilisation [3]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The objective of this study was to isolate and identify novel potential denitrifying bacteria from two different Kuantan areas which are Jubli Perak Agricultural Park, Kuantan (3º50'49.6"N 103º18'06.1"E) and Felda Lepar Hilir, Kuantan (3º40'41.4"N 103º03'24.7"E). Indigenous Microorganisms (IMOs) available in the locations were cultivated by fermentation of steamed rice in the location together with brown sugar. Serial dilutions of the fermented medium were spread on Jensen's agar and incubated at 30 ºC for eight days. A total of six colonies were subjected to various biochemical analysis including Gram staining, catalase, methyl red, carbohydrate fermentation and nitrate reduction tests. All bacterial isolates were subjected to genomic DNA extraction and PCR amplification of 16S rRNA genes using 27F and 1942R primers. All the amplified product of 16S rRNA genes from the bacterial isolates were purified and sent for sequencing. BLASTn and phylogenetic analysis based on 16S rRNA gene sequences shown all the isolates belong to Bacillus spp. and clustered into two main clusters.
... Scientists use these friendly micro-organisms to develop biofertilizers. 23 Phosphate and nitrogen are important for the growth of plants. These compounds exist naturally in the environment, but plants have a limited ability to extract them. ...
Article
Full-text available
In the drive for economic diversification and search for revenue source that is sustainable (environmentally and economically), agriculture has proven an important sector to meet such need. Agriculture was and can still play a role as a main backbone in many economies of the world. To fulfill this role in the current dispensation of population explosion, climate change with its attendant problems, agriculture must shift to the modern trend in biotechnology. Biotechnology and its products therefore usher in a new era for scientists and stalk holders in agricultural value chains. At every stage/ aspect of agriculture, biotechnology has a vital role to play since one ultimate objective of agricultural biotechnology is the production of safe food and agro-based industrial raw materials for the ever-growing world population. To achieve this objective, biotechnologists are using living organisms, fungi inclusive, to provide products beneficial to man. This study elucidates the various aspect where fungi can be utilized in agriculture
Article
Full-text available
The aggregate of microorganisms in the soil environment is a microbiome that emerged as a vital component of sustainable agriculture in the recent past. These beneficial microorganisms perform multiple plant growth-promoting activities including fixation, mineralization, solubilization, and mobilization of nutrients, production of siderophores, antagonistic substances, antibiotics, and release of plant growth-promoting substances, such as auxin and gibberellin hormones, mediated by interactions between host plant roots and microbes in the rhizosphere. Numerous plant species forms symbiotic association with microbes and draw the benefit of mineral nutrient supply with the expense of minimal energy, and their distribution is governed by nature and the number of root exudates, crop species, and cultivars. On the other hand, microorganisms with critical roles in the microbiome can be isolated, formulated, and developed as a new biological product called biofertilizers. Agriculturally, important microbes with Fe- and Zn-solubilizing attributes can be used for the biofortification of micronutrients in different cereal crops. Regardless of the approach to be used, innovations with the use of microbiomes represent the future of sustainable agriculture. Probiotic microbes, such as Lactobacillus, etc., are increasingly being used as dietary supplements in functional food products. Effective utilization of microbiome aids in promoting sustainable agriculture that accomplishes a safe environment, which in turn manifests positively on human health.
Chapter
Among the biological sciences, microbiology is well established and related with various fields in the present era. Agricultural microbiology is a blooming research field emerging from the intersection of general microbiology and microbial ecology to the agricultural biotechnologies. The ultimate aim of agricultural microbiology is a wide-ranging study of beneficial bacteria and fungi interacting with agriculturally important plants, thereby meeting the global demand of food in an eco-friendly manner. Our aim is to torch the current status and application of microbiology in modern agriculture. The present chapter gives an overall view about the role of microbiology in sustainable agriculture and also discusses effective microorganisms, rhizosphere, mycorrhizal fungi, phosphate solubilizing bacteria, impact of microbes on soil properties, synthetic biology, microbes as elicitors, microbes in stress agriculture, and climate smart agriculture.
Chapter
Microorganisms are ubiquitous in nature and are a rich source of primary as well as secondary metabolites. The uniqueness of microorganisms and their unpredictable nature attracts them for more and more exploration for the welfare of the humans and society. Products formed by microbes are natural and have the ability to reduce problems like high cost of synthetic chemicals, environmental pollution, hazards to human health, etc., and are helpful in sustaining the environment by applying different microbial technologies and sustainability goals. These indigenous microorganisms are involved in biotechnological field applications such as sustainable agriculture (biofertilizers and PGPR), food technology, chemical technology, recombinant technology, and sustainable environment (wastewater treatment, micro- and nanoparticle synthesis, oil remediation, and radioactive treatment). Apart from this, various strains of microbes are also being modified genetically for defending many environmental sustainability aspects. This review focuses upon the applications of microbial technologies for sustainable development of environment that meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generation to meet their own needs. Microorganisms like Micrococcus, Pseudomonas, Chromobacterium, Bacillus, and many others play a major role in the development of a sustainable environment.
Article
Full-text available
Biotechnology, molecular biology and genetic engineering, and bioprospecting play a crucial role in our common future, enabling industrially important microorganisms to ensure sustainable products (fuels, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food, drug delivery systems, medical devices etc.) and new bioeconomic opportunities. Biotechnological applications are able to provide cost-effective green alternatives to conventional industrial processes, which are currently affecting the nature and biodiversity. Klebsiella species are among the well-studied microbes both in medicine field, as ones of the most resilient opportunistic pathogens, and in industry, due to their promising biochemical properties, and their potential as better hosts than other microorganisms, for i.e. in genetic manipulation. Klebsiella oxytoca and Klebsiella pneumoniae are ubiquitously found in natural environments, but also as commensals in the human gut, and associated with a high-resistance to the first-line antibiotics. However, these specific strains are continuously isolated and studied for different industrial purposes (i.e. bulk chemicals and biofuels production, medical diagnosis, nanoparticles and exopolysaccharides synthesis, plant growth promoting activities, bioremediation and biodegradation agents etc.), and scientific results regarding their biotechnological potential could generate big impact for global bioeconomy development. Recently, research in synthetic biology gained a lot of attention, and new techniques highlight ways to reprogramme these microbial cells in view of high-yield or high-quality new chemicals obtainment. Therefore, some scientific research niches are emerging in biotechnology, and unknown metabolic pathways and genes are identified and further studied, to provide alternative solutions to the global challenges.
Article
Full-text available
Observations of the tropical nitrogen (N) cycle over the past half century indicate that intact tropical forests tend to accumulate and recycle large quantities of N relative to temperate forests, as evidenced by plant and soil N to phosphorus (P) ratios, by P limitation of plant growth in some tropical forests, by an abundance of N-fixing plants, and by sustained export of bioavailable N at the ecosystem scale. However, this apparent up-regulation of the ecosystem N cycle introduces a biogeochemical paradox when considered from the perspective of physiology and evolution of individual plants: The putative source for tropical N richness—symbiotic N fixation—should, in theory, be physiologically down-regulated as internal pools of bioavailable N build. We review the evidence for tropical N richness and evaluate several hypotheses that may explain its emergence and maintenance. We propose a leaky nitrostat model that is capable of resolving the paradox at scales of both ecosystems and individual N-fixing or...
Chapter
Full-text available
By 2050 the world’s population will have increased by a third and demand for agricultural products will rise by 70% with meat consumption doubling. Lateral expansion of the agricultural sector through the clearing of land is untenable without significant negative implications on already stressed natural ecosystems and the range of drivers, including climate variability, that farmers will have to cope with, will require changes in the way we undertake agriculture. In meeting future food production demands without consuming more land and water will require technological innovation and changes in the way agriculture is undertaken. The chapter discusses the future global demands for food and highlights the importance of addressing soil chemical and physical constraints in increasing the productivity of degraded production systems. The role of clays in permanently changing the surface charge characteristics of soils and the potential for selected grass species to remediate compacted soil layers are presented as possible options in addressing the sustainability of degraded production systems.
Chapter
Full-text available
Symbiosis, or “coexistence of diverse organisms”, is the term which was proposed firstly by Anton de Bary (1879). Roughly, there are three types of symbiosis: commensalism (an interaction which is beneficial for one symbiotic partner but neutral for the other), antagonism (or parasitism, where one symbiont develops to the detriment of another – see elsewhere in this Book) and mutualism (where both symbionts benefit from mutual coexistence). Mutualism is a special ecological and evolutionary strategy for two (or more) dissimilar organisms to share (allocate) all of their physiological functions between them rather than them being separated. This is distinguished principally from individual adaptations which are dependent on morpho-physiological and behavioural reactions of one free-living organism. Here there is an evolutionary opportunity to develop certain functions and possibly lose others leading to genetic and metabolic integration according to a dialectical law “negation of negation” which may be applicable to evolution. As a result some intimate genetic and metabolic cooperation between the symbiotic partners of complicated super-organismic systems develop resulting in new adaptations (functions) with their environments. In mutualistic (mutually beneficial) symbioses between plants and microbes, novel types of cells and tissues (physiologically and/or structurally) and even organs have often evolved (Douglas 1994; Tikhonovich and Provorov 2007)
Article
Full-text available
Evolution of beneficial plant–microbe symbioses is presented as a result of selective processes induced by hosts in the associated microbial populations. These processes ensure a success of “genuine mutualists” (which benefit the host, often at the expense of their own fitness) in competition with “symbiotic cheaters” (which consume the resources provided by host without expressing the beneficial traits). Using a mathematical model describing the cyclic microevolution of rhizobia–legume symbiosis, we suggest that the selective pressures in favor of N2-fixing (Fix+) strains operate within the in planta bacterial population due to preferential allocation of C resources into Fix+ nodules (positive partners’ feedbacks). Under the clonal infection of nodules, Fix+ strains (“genuine mutualists”) are supported by the group (inter-deme, kin) selection while under the mixed infections, this selection is ineffective since the Fix+ strains are over-competed by Fix− ones (“symbiotic cheaters”) in the nodular habitats. Nevertheless, under mixed infections, Fix+ strains may be supported due to the coevolutionary responses form plant population which induce the mutualism-specific types of natural (group, individual) selection including the frequency dependent selection implemented in rhizobia population during the competition for host infection. Using the model of multi-strain bacterial competition for inoculation of symbiotic (rhizospheric, nodular) habitats, we demonstrate that the individual selection in favor of host-specific mutualist genotypes is more intensive than in favor of non-host-specific genotypes correlating the experimental data on the coordinated increases of symbiotic efficiency and specificity in the rhizobia–legume coevolution. However, an overall efficiency of symbiotic system is maximal when the non-host-specific mutualists are present in rhizobia population, and selection in favor of these mutualists operating at the whole population level is of key importance for improving the symbiosis. Construction of the agronomically valuable plant–microbe systems should provide the optimization of host-specific versus non-host-specific mutualists’ composition in legume inoculants combined with the clonal penetration of these mutualists into the nodules.
Article
Nitrogen is generally considered one of the major limiting nutrients in plant growth. The biological process responsible for reduction of molecular nitrogen into ammonia is referred to as nitrogen fixation. A wide diversity of nitrogen-fixing bacterial species belonging to most phyla of the Bacteria domain have the capacity to colonize the rhizosphere and to interact with plants. Leguminous and actinorhizal plants can obtain their nitrogen by association with rhizobia or Frankia via differentiation on their respective host plants of a specialized organ, the root nodule. Other symbiotic associations involve heterocystous cyanobacteria, while increasing numbers of nitrogen-fixing species have been identified as colonizing the root surface and, in some cases, the root interior of a variety of cereal crops and pasture grasses. Basic and advanced aspects of these associations are covered in this review.
Article
The objectives of this study were to investigate how rumen fermentation, microbial community and Microbial Protein (MCP) yields changed with dietary protein. Experiments were conducted using four goats fitted with rumen cannula in a 4×4 Latin square design. Experimental diets were divided into 4 groups according to their nitrogen source, which was feather meal (A), corn gluten meal (B), soybean meal (C) and fish meal (D), respectively. The results showed that the mean pH value of group A and C were high, the reverse was true for group B and D (p<0.05); the change patterns of pH with time differed from each other although, the mean pH value of group A and C (B and D) seemed to be similar. Concentration of NH 3-N ranged between 6.77-21.67 mg/lOOmL, the lowest average NH 3-N concentration (11.08 mg/lOOmL) was observed in feather meal supplemental diet (A), while, the highest peak occurred in soybean meal supplemental diet (C) (15.04 mg/100 mL). No significant difference was detected in VFA concentrations among groups, except for valeric acid. Yields of microbial protein also varied with diets; microbial protein of the group C and D were comparatively higher than that of the group A and B (p<0.05); while, bacterial protein yields of group C was significantly higher than that of other 3 groups, protozoa to bacteria ratio was also lowest in group C. Further genetic fingerprint analysis revealed that microbial profile was modified by dietary protein within bacteria or protozoa community. It was concluded that rumen fermentation, microbial profile and rumen microbial protein could be modified properly by dietary protein.
Article
In field trials conducted at Uzbekistan, inoculation of mungbean (Phaseolus aureusRoxb.) with commercial strain CIAM1901 ofBradyrhizobiumsp. (Phaseolus) increased (on average for two cultivars) the herbage mass by 46·6±6·0%, seed mass by 39·2 ± 3·6%, mass of 1000 seeds by 16·0 ± 0·8%, nitrogen content in seeds by 58·3 ± 8·9%, starch content in seeds by 30·0 ± 5·5% and number of nodules by 254%. Inoculation with this strain produced the same herbage (seed) mass as NH4NO3application (120kg ha−1of N), while the combined treatment of rhizobia and 60kg ha−1of N produced significantly higher yields than rhizobia inoculation alone or application of 120kg ha−1of N. The rhizobia strain M11 was isolated from Uzbekistan soils and significantly exceeded the commercial strain CIAM1901 in its influence on herbage mass by 3·9–10·6%. Two-factor analysis of variance demonstrated that the herbage mass and number of nodules are controlled mainly by the rhizobia strain genotypes, while seed yield, number of pods, mass of 1000 seeds and N and starch content in seeds are influenced by the plant cultivar genotypes.
Article
Problems and concerns in relation to the use of inorganic fertilisers, irrigation, herbicides and pesticides have led to the search for alternative strategies to combat limiting soil nutrient and water levels and the effect of weeds and pests on crops. Greater utilisation of microorganisms in agricultural systems could possibly allow reductions in the use of inorganic fertilisers, water, herbicides and pesticides with no impact on crop yield. Positive plant microbial interactions which are currently under study are considered here.
Article
Leguminous crops are genetically polymorphous for the balance between symbiotrophic and combined types of nitrogen nutrition. In pea, polebean, alfalfa and fenugreek the wild-growing populations and local varieties exceed the agronomically advanced cultivars in the activity of N2 fixation that occurs in symbiosis with nodule bacteria (rhizobia). Combined nitrogen nutrition ensures higher productivity than symbiotrophic one in the old leguminous crops (pea, alfalfa, common vetch, polebean, soybean), while the symbiotrophic type dominates in some young crops (hairy vetch, kura clover, goat's rue). An importance is emphasized of using the symbiotically active wild-growing genotypes as the initial material for breeding the legume cultivars. The data on high heritability (broad sense, narrow sense, realized) of the legume symbiotic activity demonstrate that the plant selection for this activity may be highly effective. A range of methods to select the legumes for an improved symbiotic activity is available including plant growth in N-depleted substrates, analysis of nodulation scores, direct (isotopic) and indirect (acetylene reduction) estimation of nitrogenase activity. Analysis of the specificity of interactions between different plant genotypes and bacterial strains (via two-factor analysis of variance) demonstrates the strain-specific plant polygenes are of a special importance in controlling the intensity of nitrogen fixation. Therefore, a coordinated plant-bacteria breeding is required to create the optimal combinations of partners' genotypes. Selection and genetic construction of the commercially attractive rhizobia strains should involve improvement of nitrogen fixing, nodulation and competitive abilities expressed in combination with the symbiotically active plant genotypes, Breeding of the leguminous crops for the preferential nodulation by highly active rhizobia strains, for the ability to support N2 fixation under moderate N fertilization levels and to ensure a sufficient energy supply of symbiotrophic nitrogen nutrition is required