Indian agriculture has become a chemical agriculture in which numerous chemicals like insecticides, herbicides, and commercial fertilizers are being used for producing crops. Due to these major microbial population eliminated from soil and rhizosphere is getting polluted. Biofertilizers play an important role in improving soil fertility and boosting crop yields.
Food. In addition to its traditional cultivation as a bio-fertilizer for wetland paddy (due to its ability to fix nitrogen), Azolla is finding increasing use for sustainable production of livestock feed. Azolla is rich in proteins, essential amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
Besides several microorganisms such as algae and various inorganic compound fixing bacteria, Azolla is also used as biofertilizer in temperate as well as tropical rice growing areas. Azolla has been in use widely in countries like China and Vietnam for centuries but it is of a recent introduction in India. Presently there are several Azolla species which are under cultivation in India e.g. Azolla filiculoides and Azolla rubra in cold areas of India while A. Mexicana, A. microphylla, A. nilotica and A. pinnata grown under tropical conditions as they are tolerant to high temperature. Studies indicate that Azolla released nitrogen after its decomposition. It is further observed that about 67% of fixed nitrogen by Azolla is released for crop use within 35 days of inoculation.
Courtesy:- Sandeep Dhyani, HOD, Department of Botany,
Uttaranchal (P.G.) College of Bio-Medical Science & Hospital