Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 85, Issue 5, pp 1287–1299 | Cite as

Multifunctional properties of phosphate-solubilizing microorganisms grown on agro-industrial wastes in fermentation and soil conditions

  • Maria Vassileva
  • Mercedes Serrano
  • Vicente Bravo
  • Encarnación Jurado
  • Iana Nikolaeva
  • Vanessa Martos
  • Nikolay VassilevEmail author


One of the most studied approaches in solubilization of insoluble phosphates is the biological treatment of rock phosphates. In recent years, various techniques for rock phosphate solubilization have been proposed, with increasing emphasis on application of P-solubilizing microorganisms. The P-solubilizing activity is determined by the microbial biochemical ability to produce and release metabolites with metal-chelating functions. In a number of studies, we have shown that agro-industrial wastes can be efficiently used as substrates in solubilization of phosphate rocks. These processes were carried out employing various technologies including solid-state and submerged fermentations including immobilized cells. The review paper deals critically with several novel trends in exploring various properties of the above microbial/agro-wastes/rock phosphate systems. The major idea is to describe how a single P-solubilizing microorganism manifests wide range of metabolic abilities in different environments. In fermentation conditions, P-solubilizing microorganisms were found to produce various enzymes, siderophores, and plant hormones. Further introduction of the resulting biotechnological products into soil-plant systems resulted in significantly higher plant growth, enhanced soil properties, and biological (including biocontrol) activity. Application of these bio-products in bioremediation of disturbed (heavy metal contaminated and desertified) soils is based on another important part of their multifunctional properties.


Agro-wastes Fermentations Microbial properties Phosphate solubilization Soil-plant systems 



This work is supported by Projects CTM2005-06955 and CTM2008-03524 (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, España), a Project from the Junta de Andalucia (Proyecto de Exelencia), and EU COST 865.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Vassileva
    • 1
  • Mercedes Serrano
    • 1
  • Vicente Bravo
    • 1
  • Encarnación Jurado
    • 1
  • Iana Nikolaeva
    • 2
  • Vanessa Martos
    • 3
    • 4
  • Nikolay Vassilev
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  2. 2.School of Sustainable Society and Technology DevelopmentMalardalen UniversityVasterasSweden
  3. 3.Department of Plant PhysiologyUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain
  4. 4.Institute of BiotechnologyUniversity of GranadaGranadaSpain

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