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Beneficial Microorganisms for the Management of Soil Phosphorus

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Sustainable Agriculture Reviews 32

Part of the book series: Sustainable Agriculture Reviews ((SARV,volume 32))


The dependence of all life on phosphorus (P) availability has revealed serious P challenges such as the P deficiency in weathered and eroded soils, the high cost of phosphate fertilizers, the scarcity and unequal global distribution of rock phosphates, the regional over-accumulation of P and the agricultural non-point source P pollution. In this context, microorganisms capable of mobilizing P in the soil system may be applied as a low-cost technology to enhance plant growth and crop yields. Here we review the beneficial role of microorganisms, namely arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and P–mobilizing bacteria, to mediate P availability and transform legacy P (insoluble, bound) into soluble forms.

We found that the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis improves plant P nutrition, however, high soil P concentration is also known to suppress it. The effectiveness of the symbiosis depends on the richness of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal species. Most studies show that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal diversity and effectiveness are modified by soil management practices. Fertilization with slow-release inorganic fertilizers, organic fertilizers and mycorrhizal symbiosis gives satisfactory crop yields, but long-term studies are few. Bacteria are the predominant microorganisms that mobilize native and applied P in soils, as compared to fungi or actinomycetes. Strains from the genera Pseudomonas, Bacillus and Rhizobium have so far been recognized as the most powerful phosphate solubilizers. The principal mechanism for mineral phosphate solubilization is the production of organic acids, e.g. oxalic, citric, gluconic, tartaric, lactic, fumaric; and enzymes: phosphatases, phytases, phosphonatases and C-P lyases.

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Correspondence to Dionisios Gasparatos .

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Ipsilantis, I., Karamesouti, M., Gasparatos, D. (2018). Beneficial Microorganisms for the Management of Soil Phosphorus. In: Lichtfouse, E. (eds) Sustainable Agriculture Reviews 32. Sustainable Agriculture Reviews, vol 32. Springer, Cham.

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