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  • 1 Aligarh Muslim University Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences Aligarh U.P. India
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Most agronomic soils contain large reserves of total phosphorus [P], but the fixation and precipitation of P cause P deficiency, and in turn, restrict the growth of crops severely. Phosphorus replenishment, especially in sustainable production systems, remains a major challenge as it is mainly fertilizer-dependent. Though the use of chemical P fertilizers is obviously the best means to circumvent P deficiency in different agro-ecosystems, their use is always limited due to its spiralling cost. A greater interest has, therefore, been generated to find an alternative yet inexpensive technology that could provide sufficient P to plants while reducing the dependence on expensive chemical P fertilizers. Among the heterogeneous and naturally abundant microbes inhabiting the rhizosphere, the phosphate solubilizing microorganisms (PSM) including bacteria have provided an alternative biotechnological solution in sustainable agriculture to meet the P demands of plants. These organisms in addition to providing P to plants also facilitate plant growth by other mechanisms. Despite their different ecological niches and multiple functional properties, P-solubilizing bacteria have yet to fulfil their promise as commercial bio-inoculants. Current developments in our understanding of the functional diversity, rhizosphere colonizing ability, mode of actions and judicious application are likely to facilitate their use as reliable components in the management of sustainable agricultural systems.

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