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The increasing demand for green and environment friendly agricultural practices is driving the use of fertilizers based on
beneficial microorganisms. Inoculation of these microorganisms to soil not only enhances the specific nutrient availability
and its uptake by plant but may also exert positive effect on plant growth due to their multifunctional traits. The choice
of technology for developing microbial inoculants is the key to their successful application and subsequent effect on crop
growth. The direct exposure of microbial strain to harsh soil environment during early stages of their establishment affect the
performance of carrier based and liquid microbial formulations under field application and necessitate the need to find an
alternative technology. The encapsulation of microorganisms, though currently experimental in the field of agriculture has been
suggested as one of the alternate that can overcome the limitations of above cited microbial formulations. Encapsulation in a
polymeric matrix protects the microbes from native flora competition and releases the cells gradually. Liberation of entrapped
microbes from the encapsulated beads happens when the polymer is slowly degraded by the native soil microorganisms and
has a direct relation with the soil biological activity. However, selection of microbial strain and suitable bio-encapsulation
method need due attention.
Sunita Gaind has completed her PhD in Microbiology from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi and she is currently working as a Senior Scientist at Division of Microbiology, IARI. She has published about 50 scientific papers in peer reviewed journals, 15 book chapters and 30 popular/technical articles. She is also associated with the Editorial Board of some peer reviewed journals.