AAU comes up with a liquid biofertiliser, waits for patent

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Anand Agricultural University (AAU) has developed a super-formula of liquid "biofertiliser consortium" that has been found to have brought down the use of costly chemical fertilisers to 25 per cent.

Considered a trail-blazing event in the history of liquid biofertlisers, the new formula could bring immense economic benefits as it could considerably bring down the import cost of phosphatic fertilisers as well as nation's overall fertiliser subsidy which is almost 1.52 per cent of country's gross domestic product (GDP). The country had paid Rs 75,849 crore as fertiliser subsidy in 2008-09 alone.

The new biofertiliser has been developed jointly by AAU microbiologists Rajanbabu V Vyas and Harsha N Shelat three years ago.

The new formula was tested on farming fields for all kind of crops during the last three years. "More than 15 lakh farmers all over the state were supplied the new biofertiliser in the last three years and the results were encouraging," said Vyas, adding "the demand from the farmers is constantly increasing".

However, the commercial production of the new biofertiliser would begin only after the university is granted patent. An application seeking international patent has been moved through to the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.

"It will take at least a year to get the patent because it is a lengthy process," said Vyas.

The new biofertiliser is different from the existing biofertilisers in the sense that it contains multiple microbes, having the property to fix atmospheric nitrogen as also break the phosphates and potassium available in the soil and make them available to the plants. All other existing biofertilisers have only one microbe and don't have the capacity to make all the three ingredients available to the plants.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Vyas said the new biofertiliser would greatly bring down the input cost in crops being grown through drip irrigation. As chemical fertilisers can't be used in drip irrigation crops, water soluble fertilisers are currently used which cost Rs 1,800 per hectare currently.

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