USSEC's Sustain Summit Highlights Sustainable Agriculture

Bioenergy refers to the combination of biogas, biomass, fuels, and hydrogen. This Environment Biotechnology application is used in the industrial, home, and space sectors.

USSEC's Sustain Summit Highlights Sustainable Agriculture

Microbial biotechnology is a branch of biotechnology that involves the use of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, algae, and viruses) to develop products and processes that have practical applications in various industries.

Microorganisms are a type of small organisms that can be found in soil, air, and water. Microbes have been used by humans from the beginning of time. Before contemporary civilization, the science of making curd, bread, and wine existed.

Early man used to digest agricultural and kitchen waste by burying it in the soil and allowing it to disintegrate for many months, which is now known as composting. The manufacture of alcohol, vinegar, and pickles is similar. This art is now known as “Fermentation technology,” and it is used on a huge scale to produce many more valuable items at an industrial level.

Microbes are currently used in the biotechnology process known as Microbial biotechnology, which is an important area that promotes advances in food safety, food security, value-added products, human nutrition, functional foods, plant and animal protection, and overall fundamental agricultural research.

Microbial biotechnology, made possible by genome studies, will result in innovations such as improved vaccinations and disease-diagnostic tools, as well as enhanced microbial agents for biological control of plant and animal pests, modifications of plant and animal diseases for reduced virulence, production of novel industrial catalysts and fermentation organisms, and development of new microbial agents for bioremediation of agricultural runoff-contaminated soil and water.


The microbial flora and fauna of soil are diverse. There are numerous indigenous microbes that assist plants in various ways. The group of microorganisms that benefit the crop directly or indirectly.

They directly converted soil nutrients into accessible forms, while indirectly they secreted various hormones and organic acids that play a role in chelating many micronutrients and making them unavailable to pathogens by limiting their growth and acting as bio-control agents.

The organisms responsible for the aforementioned behaviour are known as PGPR (Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria). 

Microbial Biotechnology and Environmental Health

According to the International Society for Environmental Biotechnology, “environmental Biotechnology is defined as an environment that aids in the development, efficient use, and regulation of biological systems, as well as the prevention of pollution or contamination of land, air, and water.” Environmental Biotechnology Applications are classified into four categories.


This sort of environmental biotechnology application provides a response to a chemical that aids in measuring the quantity of damage caused, hazardous exposure, or pollution effect caused. In other words, biomarkers are also known as biological markers.

Human bio-monitoring is an efficient and cost-effective method of identifying and quantifying exposure to chemical compounds, including those with harmful effects on humans.

The utility and limitations of these biomarkers in bio-monitoring studies of pesticide-exposed populations in terms of the primary routes of absorption and different matrices that can be utilized to monitor risk assessment in occupational contexts.


Bioenergy refers to the combination of biogas, biomass, fuels, and hydrogen. This Environment Biotechnology application is used in the industrial, home, and space sectors.

According to the current demand, it is decided that the need for clean energy derived from these fuels, as well as alternative methods of obtaining clean energy, is of the utmost importance. There are numerous substrates available for biogas production. Spent oyster mushroom substrate can be efficiently used for biogas production. Similarly, paddy straw has been used to make bioethanol.


A wide range of industrial organic compounds is discharged into the environment, which acts as a raw material for microbial enzymes. Bioremediation is the process of converting harmful chemicals into non-toxic molecules.

Organic molecules are frequently characterized as biodegradable, persistent, or recalcitrant based on their environmental behaviour. A bio-degradable organic substance is one that degrades through biological processes.

A persistent organic substance does not biodegrade in particular settings, but a recalcitrant compound does not biodegrade in a wide range of environments. Mineralization is similar to biodegradation in that it refers to the complete degradation of the end products of CO2, water, and other inorganic chemicals.

Microorganisms may decompose a wide range of chemicals, including benzene, phenol, naphthalene, nitroaromatics, biphenyls, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and chlorobenzoates. Although simple aromatic compounds can be degraded by a variety of degradative pathways, their halogenated counterparts are more resistant to bacterial attack and frequently demand the emergence of new mechanisms.

Biotechnology has the solution for bioremediation of this biohazardous chemical pollution through the cloning of numerous genes obtained from various bacteria and assembled on a single bacterial plasmid. A genetically engineered strain of P. florescence’s strain HK44 was able to detect and bio-remediate environmental pollutants through bioluminescence.


Bio-transformation is defined as the precise alteration of a specific substance to a distinct product with structural similarities using biological catalysts such as fungus.

The biological catalyst can be defined as an enzyme or a complete, inactivated microorganism that produces an enzyme or numerous enzymes. The distinction between a bio-transformation and a bioconversion is marginal. Because a bio-conversion uses the catalytic activity of living organisms, it might entail numerous chemical reaction stages and is therefore quite unstable for utilized substrates.

The features of bio-transformations and bioconversions are quite similar, and the phrases are frequently used interchangeably.


Microbial inoculants’ processes of plant growth promotion vary depending on the environment. Inoculating peppermint with both phosphate solubilizing bacteria (PSB) and triple superphosphate, resulted in better P-use efficiency and crop production than noninoculated soils in a nutrient-constrained scenario.

PSB’s efficient phosphate solubilization in soil, along with P fertilization, shows the promising ability to improve soil P nutrition while reducing the amount of chemical fertilizer application. Furthermore, microbial inoculants can boost plant resilience to various abiotic/biotic variables.

Under salinity and drought circumstances, for example, inoculation of Glutamicibacter halophytocola, Pseudomonas sp., and Bacillus subtilis can improve plant seedling growth by producing 1aminocyclopropane1carboxylate (ACC) deaminase or maintaining ion homeostasis.

Microbial inoculants can create antimicrobial chemicals in response to biotic stressors, inhibiting the infection and proliferation of potentially dangerous microorganisms. Furthermore, beneficial bacteria can activate the ISR of the plant immune system, allowing it to withstand infections or pests. 


Bio-fertilizers are created in laboratories using live or latent cells of organisms, such as nitrogen fixers, phosphate solubilizers, cellulitis bacteria, growth promoters, and others, and are administered to seeds or plants to help them grow.

In contrast to synthetic fertilizers, bio-fertilizers contain microorganisms that do not provide nutrients on their own but facilitate access to accessible nutrients in the rhizosphere. The usage of bio-fertilizers or microbial inoculants has expanded significantly in numerous parts of the world over the last two decades.

Bio-fertilizers are seen as a viable and sustainable bio-technological alternative for increasing crop output, improving and restoring soil fertility, stimulating plant development, lowering production costs, and reducing the environmental effect associated with chemical fertilization.

Nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria (e.g., Azotobacter, Rhizobium), nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria (e.g., Anabaena), phosphate-solubilizing bacteria (e.g., Pseudomonas), and arbuscular mycorrhic fungus are all extensively utilised as biofertilizers.

Similarly, phytohormone producing bacteria (e.g., auxins) and cellulite microbes are utilised as biofertilizers. Furthermore, the utilization of plant growth-boosting bacteria can aid in the development of ways to promote plant growth under normal and abiotic stress situations.


Bio-control agents have an important role in disease control, boosting crop growth parameters, plant content, and yield. Diseases can be suppressed in a variety of ways, including mycoparasitism, antibiosis, competition, cell wall breakdown, induced resistance, plant growth promotion, and rhizosphere colonization capability.

The most potent bio-agent examined thus far appears to antagonize pathogens via various mechanisms, as in Pseudomonas, utilizing both antibiosis and host resistance induction to reduce disease-causing microbes.

It produces phenazine and 2, 4- diacetylphloroglucinol (DAPG), and it has excellent disease suppression abilities in field-grown wheat. Additional DAPG producers aggressively colonize roots, which contributes to disease suppression in the rhizosphere via competition. Because the bio-agent is a biological system, it must be mass-produced and packaged into diverse commercial items in such a way that it remains viable for at least two years.

Saleem Sajjad from the Department of Soil and Environmental Sciences, College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha, Sargodha, Pakistan; Hafiz Muhammad Bilal from the Department of Horticulture, Auburn University, AL, USA; and Amanullah Baloch from the National Key Lab of Crop Genetic Improvement and the College of Plant Science and Technology, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China.

By Hafiz Muhammad Bilal

Ph.D. Scholar