, Volume 378, Issue 1-2, pp 1-33
Date: 19 Nov 2013

Advances in plant growth-promoting bacterial inoculant technology: formulations and practical perspectives (1998–2013)



Inoculation of plants to enhance yield of crops and performance of other plants is a century old, proven technology for rhizobia and a newer venue for plant growth-promoting bacteria and other plant symbionts. The two main aspects dominating the success of inoculation are the effectiveness of the bacterial isolate and the proper application technology.


An assessment of practical aspects of bacterial inoculants for contemporary agriculture and environmental restoration is critically evaluated from the point of view of their current technological status, current applications, and future use. This is done because there are windows of opportunity for new developments in applied research using renewable, non-contaminated natural resources and new venues for research. Special emphasis is given to formulations and polymeric carriers. This review concentrates on practical aspect of inoculation technology dating from 1998 to 2013. Earlier publications are mentioned only for clarification of a specific point.


This review discusses characteristics of a carrier for inoculants, formulations of inoculants including liquid, organic, inorganic, polymeric, and encapsulated formulations. Technical aspects include inoculation techniques (soil and seed application), mass culture production, bulk sterilization, seed coating, shelf-life, and effect of moisture. Future research venues needed are noted.