IMMOBILIZED MICROORGANISMS TO IMPROVE THE AVAILABILITY OF PHOSPHORUS AND POTASSIUM IN SOILSTELLA MATTHEWS
Phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are the two major but limiting nutrients in soils. Though there are large amount of P and K in soils, it undergo rapid fixation and become unavailable for plant absorption. The aim of this study is to evaluate the efficiency of immobilized P and K solubilizing bacteria to liberate the fixed P and K in soils mixed with insoluble rock minerals. In this study, bacteria isolated from rhizosphere were screened using insoluble P and K medium. Potential bacteria were identified as Klebsiella sp., Enterobacter sp. and Serratia sp. using 16S rDNA and characterized using BIOLOG microplate. Microorganisms were immobilized in alginate to sustain the longevity of the cells in soils. The results revealed that immobilized P and K bio-inoculant was superior in increasing total N (91.3%) and cation exchange capacity (47.3%) in soils; root biomass (26.7%) and above ground biomass (40.8%) of chilly as compared to a commercial bio-fertilizer. The immobilized P and K bio-inoculant mixed with natural rock minerals exhibited greater increase in total P (38.7%) and exchangeable K (183%) compared to a commercial bio-fertilizer. Both treatments that consisted of immobilized P and K solubilizing bacteria exhibited improvement in soil fertility and increase in dry weight of the root and shoot. This study has corroborated the potential of immobilized P and K bacteria to recycle the insoluble nutrients in soil through biological activities.
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