Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacterial Biofertilizers for Sustainable Crop Production: The Past, Present, and Future
The world’s population is increasing and so are agricultural activities to match the growing demand for food. Conventional agricultural practices generally employ artificial fertilizers to increase crop yields, but these have multiple environmental and human health effects. For decades, environmentalists and sustainability researchers have focused on alternative crop fertilization mechanisms to address these challenges, and biofertilizers have constantly been researched, recommended, and
... , recommended, and even successfully-adopted for several crops. Biofertilizers are microbial formulations made of indigenous plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) which can naturally improve plant growth either directly or indirectly, through the production of phytohormones, solubilization of soil nutrients, and production of iron-binding metabolites; siderophores. Biofertilizers, therefore, hold immense potential as tools for sustainable crop production especially in the wake of climate change and global warming. Despite the mounting interest in this technology, their full potential has not yet been realized. This review updates our understanding of the PGPR biofertilizers and sustainable crop production. It evaluates the history of these microbial products, assesses their present state of utilization, and also critically propounds on their future prospects for sustainable crop production. Such information is desirable to fully evaluate their potential and can ultimately pave the way for their increased adoption for crop production.