Beads and Special Applications of Polymers for Agricultural Uses

  • Amos Nussinovitch


The concept of bead encapsulation has become highly relevant to agriculture. Beads can encapsulate microorganisms for use in the field of bacterial- inoculation technology. Immobilized plant cell suspensions and single seed products have proven to be easy to produce, store, and handle during industrial operation. This chapter describes the goals of encapsulation in agriculture,: e.g., to temporarily protect the encapsulated microorganisms from the soil environment and microbial competition and to release them gradually for the colonization of plant roots. Special cases for enlarging populations in which the entrapped bacterial biomass is low are described; other cases in which, for example, immobilized fungi are used as biocontrol agents against soil-borne pathogens are thoroughly detailed; survival of bead-entrapped populations is compared with that of populations encapsulated in peat, and the influence of special additives on bacterial survival isare described. In addition, timing and methods for the application of bacterial inoculants are delineated. In particular, topics such as carriers for the slow release of bacteria that affect plant growth, inoculation of seedlings and plants with beads containing fungal inoculum, joint immobilization of plant -growth-promoting bacteria and green microalgae, cryopreservation by encapsulation/dehydration technique, and controlled release of agricultural chemicals are discussed at length. The chapter also supports the reader with a list of biotechnological applications such as gene-delivery systems using beads, bioactive bead methods for obtaining transgenic plants and in synthetic seed technology, and describes unique applications of polymers, including superabsorbent polymers and seed coating.


Somatic Embryo Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungus Sodium Alginate Alginate Bead Synthetic Seed 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Human Nutrition, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentThe Hebrew University of JerusalemRehovotIsrael

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