High-throughput sequence analysis of bacterial communities in commercial biofertiliser products marketed in South Africa: an independent snapshot quality assessment
Raimi, Adekunle R.
Ezeokoli, Obinna T.
Adeleke, Rasheed A.
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The genetic and predicted functional diversity of bacterial communities in 12 commercial biofertiliser products were evaluated using high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Proteobacteria, Firmicutes and Bacteroides dominated the bacterial communities, with the genera Pseudomonas, Lactobacillus, Bacillus, Bradyrhizobium and Rhizobium being prevalent. The manufacturer-specified species were detected in relatively high abundance in two of the products while a few or none of the specified species were detected in some products. A number of unspecified microbes were detected, including potential human and crop pathogens such as Alcaligenes, Clostridium, Escherichia–Shigella and Proteus. The functional prediction unravelled high prevalence of enzyme-coding genes such as nitrogenase, NifT, alkaline phosphatase and reductases of nitric oxide, nitrate and nitrite which contribute to nitrogen-fixation, phosphorus solubilisation and degradation of nitrates and nitrites. In addition, toxins such as leukocidin/hemolysin and colicin V protein that cause product quality damage were highly predicted in over 67% of the products. Overall, high-throughput sequence analysis of bacterial communities in biofertiliser products revealed that majority of the products were of poor quality. This result justifies the need for regular quality assessment and improvement in quality control systems during biofertiliser formulation