biofertilizer ak - Title BIOFERTILIZERS AND APPLICATIONS...

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Title: BIOFERTILIZERS AND APPLICATIONS Date of Submission: 19 th March 2009 Student Name: Mohammad Amir Firdaus Bin Mazlan Student ID: 0902B63131 School of Engineering Taylor’s University College Malaysia March 2009
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1.0 Introduction Plant nutrients are vital for the various crops cultivation and sustainable agriculture. For optimum plant growth, nutrients must be available in balanced and sufficient quantities. Soils already contain natural reserves of plant nutrients, but these reserves are mostly in insoluble forms which means unavailable to plants, and only a small portion is released each year through chemical processes and biological activity. This release is too slow to offset the removal of nutrients by agricultural production and to meet crop necessities. For that reason, fertilizers are designed to supplement the nutrients already present in the soil. Among the materials used in agriculture, fertilizer is the most widely used. Based on the production process, it can be categorized into three types, which are chemical fertilizer, organic fertilizer and biofertilizer. Each type of fertilizer has its advantages and disadvantages in the context of nutrient supply, crop growth, soil fertility and environmental problems [1]. However, this essay will focus on biofertilizers only. Biofertilizer is defined as a substance which contains living microorganisms or microbial inoculants like bacteria, algae and fungi to be made into additives’s fertilizer. Biofertilizers differ from chemical and organic fertilizers in the sense that they do not directly supply nutrients to crops [1]. They possess the natural ability to fix and mobilize important nutrient elements from non-usable forms through biological process. The need for the use of biofertilizers has arisen primarily for two purposes. Firstly, increase in the use of fertilizers leads to increased crop productivity. Second, increased usage of chemical fertilizer leads to damage in soil texture and raises environmental issues. Hence, the use of biofertilizers is both economical and environmental friendly [3]. However, there are some disadvantages of using biofertilizers. For instance, they have short shelf life, lack of suitable carrier materials and vulnerability to high temperature. Furthermore, biofertilizers are live product and require a good care in the storage [3].
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2.0 Process Manufacturing Biofertilizers are manufactured by fermentation of complex heterogeneous medium using commercially viable microbial cultures. Two popular types of biofertilizer formulations are carrier-based formulations and liquid formulations. The production plant consists of two sections, the manufacturing section and the culture laboratory [6].
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