Biofertilizers and sustainable agriculture: exploring arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
Babalola, Olubukola O.
Igiehon, Nicholas O.
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Worldwide agricultural food production has to double in 2050 so as to feed the global increasing population while reducing dependency on conventional chemical fertilizers plus pesticides. To accomplish this objective, there is the need to explore the several mutualistic interactions between plant roots and rhizosphere microbiome. Biofertilization is the process of boosting the abundance of microorganisms such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in the natural plant rhizosphere which depicts a beneficial alternative to chemical fertilization practices. Mineral nutrients uptake by AMF are plausible by means of transporters coded for by different genes and example include phosphate transporter. These fungi can be produced industrially using plant host and these, including the possibility of AMF contamination by other microorganism, are factors militating against large scale production of AMF. AMF isolates can be inoculated in the greenhouse or field, and it has been shown that AMF survival and colonization level were enhanced in soybeans grown on land that was previously cultivated with the same plant. Next generation sequencing (NGS) is now used to gain insight into how AMF interact with indigenous AMF and screen for beneficial microbial candidates. Besides application as biofertilizers, novel findings on AMF that could contribute to maintenance of agricultural development include AMF roles in controlling soil erosion, enhancing phytoremediation, and elimination of other organisms that may be harmful to crops through common mycelia network. The combination of these potentials when fully harnessed under agricultural scenario will help to sustain agriculture and boost food security globally.