Wednesday, 9 January 2013

A team of researchers from Visakhapatnam has developed a bio-fertilizer that will solve the problem of zinc deficiency in green gram, increase the yield and bring in profits to farmers

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Jan 4: Green gram is a major ingredient in the Indian
kitchen, but this delicious pulse crop is hit by zinc deficiency
causing heavy loss to farmers. Now a team of researchers from
Visakhapatnam has developed a bio-fertilizer that will solve the
problem of zinc deficiency in green gram, increase the yield and bring
in profits to farmers.

Field trials conducted in Anakapalle town in Visakhapatnam district
have been successful with the bio-fertilizer solving the problem of
zinc deficiency in the green gram crop. Farmers spend huge amounts on
buying chemical fertilizers to overcome the problem of zinc deficiency
in green gram. Chemical fertilizers make the soil alkaline or saline,
robbing it of its ability to sustain future crops.

Dr L Anitha, associate professor, department of microbiology and food
science and technology, Gitam University, Visakhapatnam, told this
correspondent that the bio-fertilizer was developed from blue green
algae (Spirulina platensis). Dr Anitha and research scholar P Kalpana
developed the bio-fertilizer. According to Dr Anitha, they conducted
research to estimate zinc levels in green gram (Cicer arietinum) after
application of blue green algae by foliar spray on the plants from
germination for 45 days every fortnight.

Spirulina is rich in protein and trace metals. Spirulina was dried,
powdered, and applied to crops in four different concentrations. The
zinc levels were estimated using atomic absorption spectrophotometer.
The zinc concentration 36.83 mg per kg as against 29.45 mg/kg in
fields where the bio-fertilizer was not used.

“The foliar spray enhanced the zinc levels in green gram. The higher
the concentration of blue green algae the higher the zinc
concentration in the green gram crop,” she said.

Zinc plays a key role in the yield, quality and nutritional value of
agricultural crops. But use of zinc from chemical sources damages the
soil texture, though it increases the farm out. Zinc obtained through
natural sources like blue green algae not only keeps the soil texture
in good health, but also solves the problem of deficiency in crops.

The research study by the Vizag team gain significance, as 50 per cent
of the world’s agricultural crops are deficient in zinc.

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