The manipulation of plant and environmental microbiomes is becoming an increasingly popular tool to sustainably increase farm productivity for food and nutrient security (Singh and Trivedi, 2017). There are multiple drivers for the increasing focus on microbiome tools in agriculture, including the need for a substantial increase in food production from shrinking arable lands. For example, an increase of 70% in farm productivity is needed by 2050 to meet demand of the continually growing global population. Continuous land degradation means that farm productivity increases need to be met from 8 to 20% less arable land. In addition, climate change, the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, the high cost and unreliable supply of phosphorus fertilizers, combined with the structural decline in soil fertility means better approaches to utilize available natural resources, are considered a priority. Harnessing the plant and soil microbiome is increasingly being recognized as one such approach. Environmental (e.g. minimizing water and air pollution) and social (e.g. consumer’s demand of chemical-free food and environment preservation) pressures are other key drivers that provide the impetus towards green and renewable technologies for sustainable farming.
Illustration Photo: Seedlings (Public Domain from Pixabay.com)