Get premium membership and access questions with answers, video lessons as well as revision papers.

Design a sustainable Agro ecosystem using a biotechnology application


Date Posted: 3/20/2019 11:22:22 PM

Posted By: Frederick paul  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 132

Design a sustainable Agro ecosystem for the University of Embu using a biotechnology application of beneficial soil organism.

Sustainability-this is the use of available resources to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the needs of the future generations.
Sustainable agroecosystem-it is a community of plants and animals interacting with their environment while maintaining the ecosystem community to provide ecosystem services to the present generation without compromising the future generations.
Biotechnology-is the use of living organisms such as fungi, bacteria and viruses to improve agriculture. The organisms can be used in pest and disease control and improving soil health.
A bioferlizer is a substance that contains living microorganism which when applied to plants surfaces, seeds or soil colonizes the rhizosphere and promotes growth by increasing the supply of primary nutrients to the host plant. They include bacteria, earthworms, fungi and other microorganism found in the soil. Biofertilizers add nutrients through nitrogen fixation, solubilizing phosphorus and stimulating plant growth as biofertilizer synthesis growth promoting substance. Biofertilizers provide eco-friendly organic ago-inputs. -since bio-fertilizers are technically living, it can symbiotically associate with plant roots and this improve the growth rate of crops as nutrients is made available for the plant to utilize the efficiently, this is possible because involved soil micro organisms can readily and safely convert complex organic material into simple compounds so they are easily taken up by plants.
Rhizobium inoculant is used for leguminous crops, symbiotic nitrogen fixation by rhizobium bacteria with the leguminous crops contribute substantially to total nitrogen fixation. Rhizobium inoculation is a well-known agronomic practice to ensure adequate nitrogen to crops. In university of embu farm rhizobium bacteria can be inoculated to leguminous crops to enhance maximum nitrogen fixation in the soil and this will result to improved soil health and microbial diversity in the soil.
Rhizobium bacteria

are useful to the soil and plants in many ways such as nitrogen fixation. Rhizobium bacteria are found in the root nodules of leguminous plants such as beans and peas. They form a symbiotic relationship with the plants that is they benefit from the plant for habitat and the plants benefit from them for nitrogen.
Unlike other bacteria rhizobia do not produce spores and are aerobic and motile. Rhizobium bacteria have a lot of benefits in plant. They include promote plant growth by producing or inducing the plant release secondary metabolites, facilitating the uptake of nutrients, inhibiting plant pathogenic organisms in the rhizosphere. Use of rhizobacteria also helps in environmental sustainability because it reduces pollution unlike the use of insecticide.

As rhizobium bacterial lives in a mutualistic symbiotic relationship with leguminous plants it is able to fix free nitrogen from the air to soil and making it available for plant use, this reduce the cost of applying nitrogenous fertilizers in the soil. Mutual relationship between the rhizobium bacteria and the plant roots exist. The bacteria colonize plant cells within root nodules, as they convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia using enzyme nitrogenase resulting to the provision of organic nitrogenous compound such as glutamine or ureides to the plant. On the other hand, plants in turn provides the bacterial with organic compounds made by photosynthesizes. More advantages and benefits of rhizobium legumin Sarum bacterial are
1. Useful for fertilizing soil for crops
2. Planting legume and nut plants once in a while in between crops can make the soil fertile again
3. Making soil looser and finer
4. Binding free nitrogen in the air and forming symbiotic relationship with legume plant root nodules
5. Self-fertilizing by adding nitrogen substances that will then be change into nitrate and nitrite compounds that are useful for crops
For a sustainable university agro ecosystem several types of bio fertilizers can be applied including:
i) Nitrogen fixing bio fertilizers where free living nitrogen fixing bacteria is introduced in the soil ecosystem.
ii) Microphos bio fertilizers that aids in release of phosphate either from bound or insoluble states.
iii) Compost bio fertilizers.
IV) Plant growth promoting Rhizobacteria.

The main benefits of bio fertilizers’ use in the university agro ecosystem are as discussed below:
-They promote nutrient availability in the agro ecosystem by ensuring available macro and micro nutrients such as phosphorus, sulphur, manganese, nitrogen potassium and carbon within the adjacent or at the rhizosphere zone of growing plants thus acting as a renewable source of nutrients in the university agro ecosystem.
-Increases the microbial populations within the rhizosphere thus making it livelier due to increased release of exudates in the region thus more microorganisms which facilitates processes such as nitrogen fixation, mineralization and solubilization insoluble phosphates in the soil.
-Promotes improved soil health due to less soil borne pests and diseases absence in soil. The increased beneficial bacteria population is maintained due to fungal pathogens control within the rhizosphere region.
-Improves the quality and quantity of the agricultural produce in the ecosystems due to increased availability of nutrients required by plants at required quantities due to increased microbial activity. This maintains proper crop nutrition. They support the plants through being highly tolerant to extremes in biotic and abiotic stresses and also stimulates plant growth by enhancing secretion of growth hormones.
-Bio fertilizers are ecosystem friendly as compared to most chemical fertilizers hence reduced pollution within the university agro ecosystem.
-Bio fertilizers also increases agro ecosystem biodiversity due to increased vegetation and microorganisms as well.
-Bio fertilizers have a short residual effect thus less persistence in the ecosystem.
-Promotes root proliferation thus increased rhizosphere hence increased mychorrizal associations which mediates plant competition within the agro ecosystem.
-Improves soil structure and stability due to increased binding of soil particles supported by bio fertilizers such as compost bio fertilizers.
-Biofertlizers are also less expensive thus cost effective method of fertilizer application in the agro ecosystem.

Use of bio fertilizers in promoting agro ecosystem sustainability is associated with several challenges or constraints. These challenges can either be financially, environmental constraints, technological and quality human resources during application. They are as discussed below:
a) Financial challenges may include; inadequate funds to buy bio fertilizers when applying for a large tract of land in an agro ecosystem and when used in small production units less return of sale products is experienced by the farmers.
b) Technological challenges for bio fertilizers as a biotechnology may include;
i) Some microbial inoculants used have a short shelf life thus may lead to inefficiency.
ii) Some farmers use improper and less efficient strains in the agro ecosystem for production thus decreased yields.
iii) Unqualified technical personnel within the agro ecosystem production units who lack enough knowledge on the best bio fertilizers to be used for specific crops.
iv) Increased production of poor-quality microbial inoculants used as bio fertilizers without understanding the microbiological techniques.
c) Environmental challenges associated with bio fertilizers include:
• Changes in soil characteristics such as soil salinity, pH, waterlogging and drought tolerance.
• There is increased seasonal demand for bio fertilizers in the agro ecosystem.
• Cropping operations have to be done simultaneously according to favorable conditions.
d) Infrastructural challenges include:
- Lack of enough equipment used in production.
- There is increased inadequate facilities for storage of inoculated bio fertilizers’ packages in favorable conditions.
- Facilities required for production process are inadequate.
- Inadequate space availability for laboratories where inoculation is to be done.
e) Constraints on qualitative human resources include;
o Bio fertilizers don’t show immediate visual difference in crop growth as compared to use of inorganic fertilizers.
o There is lack of regulation on the quality of bio fertilizers products.
o Inadequate awareness creation on bio fertilizer as a technology and its benefits to the farmers.
o Increased ignorance by the farmers on the quality bio fertilizers manufactured.
o There is inadequate technical staff in the production units.

In conclusion rhizobium bacteria can be inoculated and used as a bio fertilizer in the University agro ecosystem to improve sustainability and soil health. It is a cheap method because the bacteria is naturally found in the environment. This biotechnology should be embraced and used towards improving soil health hence promoting plants growth which increases yields.Biotechnology application in agriculture aims at improving the farming methods through application of modern ways and improved farming methods.

3. Satyanarayana, TJ, Narain B Prakash A(2012). Microorganism in sustainable agriculture and biotechnology.
5. Zahran H. Rhizobium-Legume symbiosis and Nitrogen fixation. 1999, 63(4): 968-989.
6. Shamsudan Z.H and Baset Mia M.A. Rhizobium as a crop enhancer and biofertilizer for increased production. 2010

Next: Design a rotational programme that will maximize the potential of micro organisms
Previous: The Perpectual Commission Of English Language Mistakes

More Resources
Quick Links
Kenyaplex On Facebook

Kenyaplex Learning