Biofertilizer – Technology for Enhanced Plant Growth

Biofertilizer technology has shown enhanced plant growth in a number of different plants and different soil conditions. Different microbial species can increase plant phosphorus uptake, fix nitrogen, produce auxins (plant growth hormones), and increase availability of other mineral nutrients.

Here’s a video showing increase root growth through time lapse photography. The right side is treated with Biota Max™ and the left side is untreated.

Notice three key points in the video:

  • The treated side grows more total root mass,
  • The treated side germinates faster
  • More plants germinate in the treated side.

Definition of Biofertilizers – Bio fertilizer

Here’s a good definition from Advances in Applied Microbiology.

Biofertilizers are defined as substances containing living microbes, which when applied to seed, plant, or soil promote growth by the supply of essential nutrients such as N, P, and other mineral nutrients.

I would add that Bio fertilizers enhance plant growth by producing auxins and siderosphores.

List of Benefits of Bio Fertilizer

  • Increase in Phosphorus Uptake
  • Nitrogen Fixation
  • Plant Growth Promotion – Increased Plant Growth
  • Decrease in the Use of Traditional Fertilizers
  • Reducing Plant Stress during Transplantation
  • Chitinase production
  • Siderophores production
  • Potassium solubilization
  • Increase in Auxin Production

Let’s take each of these benefits and discuss them a little further.

Increasing Phosphorus Uptake

Phosphorus is needed in plant cells for a number of purposes including photosynthesis, DNA, respiration and energy storage. Phosphorus is typically an expensive input for farmers. Additionally, phosphate runoff has become an environmental problem and a major issue in certain parts of the country. Phosphate is considered a growth limiting nutrient.

Bio fertilizers can help reduce the amount of phosphorus that needs to be applied to crops. Certain species of microbes sometimes called Phosphate Solubilizing Microorganisms (PSM), such as Bacillus subtilis, and Trichoderma, can solubilize phosphate making the phosphate available to the plant.

By increasing Phosphate uptake, plant yield can be increased.

Nitrogen Fixation and Biofertilizer

Nitrogen is an essential element for life. In plants, Nitrogen is needed in amino acids, proteins, DNA and chlorophyll. Atmospheric nitrogen is very plentiful but difficult for plants to use because atmospheric nitrogen (N2) is relatively inert, meaning that it does not easily react with other chemicals.

So plants need the nitrogen in another form. This is where microorganisms in biofertilizers comes into play. Nitrogen fixation occurs when microorganisms convert atmospheric nitrogen (N2) into ammonia (NH3). Ammonia is easily utilized by plants.

Nitrogen fixation can be performed only by certain types of microorganisms including Rhizobium and Paenibacillus.

The use of nitrogen fixation biofertilizers has become common in soybean and peanut production. Typically, the bio fertilizer is applied as a seed treatment.

Plant Growth Promotion

Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) are a type of biofertilizer. This type of biofertilizer has been known since 1970 or so, but just in the last few years have they become more popular. Rhizobacteria (Rhizo means root zone) are bacteria that have formed a symbiotic, or mutually beneficial relationship, with plant roots.

Rhizobacteria are attracted by the plant exudates, chemicals that the plant roots give off. In turn, the bacteria produce a number of chemicals that help the plant. Specifically, these chemicals help the plant grow bigger and better root systems. With a better developed root system, the plant is healthier and will produce better yields.

Rhizobacteria are known to produce a number of growth hormones such as auxins and gibberellins. These compounds are particularly useful when they are available at the beginning of root formation.

Typical usage is at the beginning of the planting cycle or at the transplant phase. Rice, corn, peppers, palm, are just some of the crops that will benefit from usage of a quality biofertilizer.

Decrease in the usage of traditional (N,P,K) fertilizers.

An often overlooked benefit of bio fertilizers is there use can decrease the usage of traditional NPK fertilizers.

NPK fertilizers are being overused today in both farming and gardening. This overuse leads to fertilizer runoff. This runoff is contaminating streams and lakes downstream oftentimes causing algae blooms or other problems. Using biofertilizers helps reduce the amount of nitrogen based fertilizers and increases sustainability. 

Plant stress resistance  

Reducing plant stress during transplantation is a major benefit of using biofertilizers. If plants undergo too much stress during transplantation, several problems can occur, such as:

  • Increase in disease
  • Increase in pest pressure
  • Lower yield potential. 

Decreasing these types of problems are key in transplantation success. This is where biofertilizers can help. 

The use of nutrients, micronutrients and a biofertilizer, like Biota Max™ can greatly reduce transplantation stress and increase the yield potential of your crop. 

Other Biofertilizer Benefits

In addition to the benefits I’ve listed above there are more benefits to biofertilizers, including:

  • Chitinase production
  • Siderophores production
  • Potassium solubilization

Bio-fertilizer usage is expected to grow dramatically over the next decade particularly in South East Asia, Brazil, and  the United States. As usage increases, more research will be performed in this area. I expect we’ll see many more benefits of biofertilizer usage in the coming years.

Custom Biologicals, Inc. 

CustomBio manufactures a wide variety of microbial products for a number of different applications and uses. 

One of the biofertilizers that CustomBio distributes is BiotaMax. Biota Max™ is a small, biologically active effervescent tablet that contains billions of beneficial microorganisms. The microbes in Biota Max have been specifically selected because of their enhanced ability to form synergistic relationships with plants. 

This microbial, synergistic relationship, which benefits both the plant and the microbes, is the key to success of a biofertilizer. BiotaMax contains both beneficial Trichoderma, like T. viride, and beneficial bacteria  like Bacillus subtilis.  The regular use of biofertilizers will help prevent soil problems at your farm or in your garden. 

Custom Biologicals, Inc. manufactures and distributes biofertilizers. Contact us at (561) 797-3008 or via email at

CustomBio produces BiotaMax, Custom GP, Custom B5 and Custom N2 to name a few of our products for agriculture, farmin, and gardening. 

2 thoughts on “Biofertilizer for Enhanced Plant Growth”
  1. Would like to find a product that works well in rice.
    Not only seed treatment Indigo.
    But foliar.
    Especially at reproductive stage.

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