Nutrient Availability and Management in the Rhizosphere by Microorganisms

  • Dinesh K. Maheshwari
  • Sandeep Kumar
  • Narendra K. Maheshwari
  • Dhara Patel
  • Meenu Saraf


Crop nutrition is frequently inadequate as a result of the expansion of cropping into marginal lands, elevated crop yields placing increasing demands on soil nutrient reserves, and environmental and economic concerns about applying fertilizers. Plants exposed to nutrient deficiency activate a range of mechanisms that result in increased nutrient availability in the rhizosphere compared with the bulk soil. Rhizosphere microorganisms influence nutrient availability; adding beneficial microorganisms may result in enhanced the availability of nutrients to crops. Understanding the role of plant–microbe–soil interactions in governing nutrient availability in the rhizosphere enhances the economic and environmental sustainability of crop production. The availability of nutrients in the rhizosphere is controlled by the combined effects of soil properties, plant characteristics, and the interaction of roots with microorganisms (Jones et al. New Phytol 163: 459–480, 2004). Nutrients with limited mobility in soils [P, potassium (K), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), Mn, and copper (Cu)] are transported to roots by diffusion, which is a slow process. A number of possible mechanisms of plant adaptation to soils with low nutrient availability have been suggested. PGPR had also been classified according to their beneficial effects (1) biofertilizers which fix nitrogen, subsequently used by plants, thereby improving plant growth and development, (2) phytostimulators that can directly promote growth, usually by production of plant hormones indole acetic acid, etc., (3) nutrient cyclers to solubilize and mobilize insoluble phosphorus, zinc, potassium, sulfur, etc., that enrich soil and increase its fertility for better growth and support; and (4) biocontrol agents which are able to protect the plants from infection by deleterious pathogens and pest. Several mechanisms are used by PGPR to enhance plant growth. It is important to provide a balanced nutrition and at the time when the nutrient can be most effective for higher yield and disease control. Integrated nutrient management (INM) maintains soils as storehouses of plant nutrients that are essential for vegetative growth. INM’s goal is to integrate the use of all natural and man-made sources of plant nutrients, so that crop productivity increases in an efficient and environmentally benign manner, without sacrificing soil productivity for future generations.


Powdery Mildew Chemical Fertilizer Foliar Application Chemotactic Response Cluster Root 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dinesh K. Maheshwari
    • 1
  • Sandeep Kumar
    • 1
  • Narendra K. Maheshwari
    • 1
  • Dhara Patel
    • 2
  • Meenu Saraf
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Botany and MicrobiologyGurukul Kangri UniversityHaridwarIndia
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology, School of SciencesGujarat UniversityAhmedabadIndia

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