Chapter 4: Promoting bio-fertilizer utilization for sustainable crop production: Produce quality and human health implications – Dada,O. A., Kutu, F. R., Babalola, O. O. and Togun, A. O.

Dada,O. A.1,,Kutu,F. R.3, Babalola, O. O.1 andTogun, A. O.2

1Food Security and Safety Niche Area Research Group, North-West University, MafikengCampus, P/Bag X2046, Mmabatho 2735, South Africa

2Department of Crop Protection and Environmental Biology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

3Department of Crop Science, School of Agricultural Sciences, University of Mpumalanga,Mbombela, South Africa.Corresponding Author:


Soil is a repository of diverse microbes many of which play significant roles in nutrients recycling and solubilization, reclamation of perturbed and polluted ecosystem. These microbes serve as soil quality indicator, plant disease suppression, and biocontrol agents. Many soil inhabiting microbes regulate plant growth, serve as source of bioactive compounds; function in the synthesis of hydrolytic enzymes responsible for degrading soil organically fixed nutrients while many others are now being used as biofertilizer. Hence, the widely reported potential positive impact of beneficial microbes in the highly diverse agro-ecosystems facilitated their recommendation and utilization as a component of improved soil-crop management practices. Soil health and quality indicators, including soils ability to guarantee provision of various ecosystem services like promoting sustainable increase in crop yield, guarantee the safety and the quality of produce, are influenced by the diversity and functionality of microbes-soil interaction. However, the possibility and mechanisms of transmission of virulent or infectious microbes via soil-crop-human linkage through consumption of produce from biofertilized fields is unclear. This requires further clarity and proper documentation. In-depth information on the persistence and traceability of beneficial microbes used as biofertilizer through soil application or seed during crop production needs to be carefully understood. We undertake a comprehensive review of the influence of biofertilizer use on soil quality, crop growth, and safety of produce for human and animal health. Lucid understanding of the mechanisms that govern the fate of microbes used during crop production will further provide useful information on safety of agricultural produce obtained, and the quality and safety of human life.

Keywords: Agro-ecosystem, food safety, microbial traceability, nutrient recycling, soil amendment, seed inoculation.

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