Plain Language Summary
This review highlights the use of more than 30 plant growth promoting (PGP) microbes as biofertilizers in agriculture. These diverse PGP microbes were categorized according to the types of nutrients supplied for plant growth, the different forms of commercial biofertilizers currently available, and their potential roles in expanding agrotechnology. As a chemical fertilizers substitute, PGP microbes' benefits goes beyond stimulating plant growth. These biofertilizers are also capable of bioremediating the surrounding ecosystem from pesticides and heavy metal pollution, increasing the nutritional values of the crops, and improving plants' abiotic stress coping mechanisms. Apart from the positive impacts on agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability, the application process is both simple and inexpensive. Though promising, issues like public awareness and production beyond laboratories need to be addressed before implementing these alternative strategies widely. Therefore, future researches could further explore these issues to perfect modern agriculture.
Since the dawn of agriculture, fertilizers have been used to nourish the soil to promote crop growth and increase yield. The conventionally used chemical fertilizers, though produces the desired results in a short period, its negative impact on the environment and consumer health has driven scholars to explore safer alternatives. Lately, biofertilizers using plant growth promoting (PGP) microbes has been recognized as a promising substitute. These microbial cultures contain essential components for nutrient management without jeopardizing the soil fertility and the environment. Thus, this article provides a compilation of PGP microbes and their functions to highlight the importance of biofertilizers as well as their implementation in modern sustainable agriculture.
The SDG Impact
The continuous growth of the world population urges innovation efforts to be escalated to feed its people. With majority of the world's poor living in rural areas, agriculture becomes their central economic activity. Hence, there is a pressing need for knowledge and technological investment to both raise the incomes and increase sustainable food supply. Microbial biofertilizers are possibly the answer to eradicating hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture, as envisioned in United Nation's SDG 2: Zero Hunger. Such outcomes based on the implementation of this inexpensive modern technology in agriculture could also contribute to the realization of UNSDG 1: No Poverty via a secure food system. This eco-friendly method of nourishing the soil used for agriculture plays a huge role in reducing soil and water pollution, which has been caused by heavy usage of traditional chemical fertilizers. Thus, extending its impact to achieving the targets of SDG 6 and SDG 14 on protecting the water sources, SDG 12 on sustainable consumption and production, and last but not least, SDG 15 on land use and ecosystem preservation, as reported by the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate.