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Food Security and Plant Disease Management
2021, Pages 257-277

Harnessing the potential of biostimulants and biocontrol agents for sustainable management of agricultural productivity

Vipin Kumar Singh1, Rishikesh Singh2, Ajay Kumar3, Rahul Bhadouria4

Department of Botany, Centre of Advanced Study, Institute of Science, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India.

Abstract

The improvement in cultivated ecosystems for enhancement in agricultural productivity is an essential step to support the rapidly rising human population. Pest infestation and changes in climatic conditions with possible negative consequences have further fueled the orientation of agricultural practices toward maximum crop productivity in a sustainable manner at the cost of available natural resources. The crop yield can be increased by enhancing the growth of crop plants and minimizing the losses caused by devastating plant diseases. The conventional practices of employing synthetic fertilizers and pesticides for improving crop yields pose great risks to environmental integrity and human health. In contrast, the deployment of growth stimulating organisms such as plant growth–promoting rhizobacteria and their products together with the living organisms and derived metabolic products such as microbial volatiles suppressing the growth of plant pathogens have promising potential in crop protection, thereby yield enhancement of cultivated ecosystem. Currently, the potential of numbers of bacteria, fungi, cyanobacteria, and mycorrhiza has been harnessed in agroecological management. However, the application under natural environmental conditions has certain challenges and requires extensive field investigation. Moreover, the application of living organisms and their products-based strategies for application in agroecosystem needs approval from regulatory bodies, restricting easy acceptance among farmers. This chapter deals with different biostimulants and biocontrol agents, mechanism of action, application in sustainable management of cultivated ecosystem, and challenges associated with exploitation under natural field condition.

Keywords: Biostimulants, biocontrol agents, sustainable agriculture, PGPR, plant disease, environmental stress.

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