The rapid industrialization and urbanization of developing countries such as India have encroached on cultivable lands to meet the demands of an ever-increasing population. The altered land use patterns with increased fertilizer use has increased crop yields with leaching of major portion of the applied nutrients from the soil. Nitrates and phosphates are the agricultural pollutants that are discharged into aquifers due to anthropogenic reasons causing severe environmental and health problems. Production of these nutrients requires energy and finite resources (rock phosphate, which has gradually depleting reserves). An alternative management strategy would be to sequester excess nutrients within a biomass that is reused for agriculture. Two discrete enriched microbial consortia with the potential of simultaneous nitrate and phosphate sequestration upon application as biofertilizer restricted them within the plant root zone, ensuring prevention of eutrophication through leaching while making it available for uptake by plants. The nutrient accumulated biomass enhanced the crop yield by 21.88% during mung bean cultivation with maintained elemental content and other nutritional qualities. The major drawback of conventional biofertilizer application (slow release and action) could be overcome using this formulation leading to environmental protection, crop yield enhancement and soil fertility maintenance post-cultivation.
Part of the book: Biological Wastewater Treatment and Resource Recovery