Alleviation Of Abiotic Stress By Microbial Mitigation

India comprises around 17.86% of world population with an average land resource of 2.4%. The major occupation of two third of this population is agriculture. Though the Indian agricultural sector has always been glorified in the past for undergoing a major transformation during the Green Revolution and inclusion of modern farming practices, the current scenario is however not so pleasing for certain sections. The plight of the farmers in the Marathwada and Vidarbha region of Maharashtra is a matter of great concern for the entire nation. It is disturbing to know that in an agricultural country like India, there are regions where the farmers are in such a pitiful condition.

As per an article by famous rural affairs journalist P. Sainath, a total of 60,750 farmers have committed suicide in the country during the period of 1995 to 2013. Such astounding figure was again affirmed by a December 28, 2014 report which stated that 12 farmers in Vidarbha have committed suicide within a span of 72 hours. Some of the major reasons contributing to the desolation of farmers are:

  • Lack of adequate socio-economic support

  • Unavailability of good irrigation facilities

  • Repeated crop failures due to the erratic climate in these regions.

The districts of Marathwada and Vidarbha are highly susceptible to climate change. According to a study conducted by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), these regions in Maharashtra are considered to have poor adaptive capacity to climate change based on the analysis conducted using various biophysical , social and technological indicators. As many regions in these districts have rain fed agricultural cultivations, the instances of drought are on a rise. The abiotic stress caused by drought and other physiochemical parameters contribute to the repeated crop failure in this region.

Many NGOs such as the Paani foundation and NAAM (Nana Patekar and Makarand Anaspure) foundation have extended their support to improve the conditions of farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada region. Along with providing knowledge of rainwater harvesting and decentralized water shed management these organizations have also helped in providing a socio economic support to the farmers and their families of Vidarbha. But in order to completely redress the issue it is important we adopt new technologies to prevent crop failure.

An optimal supply of water , carbon and mineral nutrients is necessary for proper growth and development of plants. The presence of extreme environmental conditions like high and low temperatures, drought and salinity pose a set of stress conditions that hamper the growth of plants. The effects of these abiotic stress conditions can however be mitigated through the metabolic machinery of microbes.

Microbial interactions help in eliciting the defense mechanisms of plants against any stressful conditions they come across with. The phenomenon is generally called as Induced Systemic Tolerance (IST). The microbes with their unique metabolic and genomic abilities can alleviate abiotic stress conditions in a natural way without disturbing the ecosystem. Some examples of microbes capable of alleviating abiotic stress include Pseudomonas spp. , Bacillus spp. , Azotobacter spp. , Pantoea spp. and others. The mechanism of action for these bacteria include production of phytohormones and phytoelixins along with other plant growth promoting activity like solubilization of phosphates, potassium and nitrogen fixation. Utilizing these microbial prowess we can help our dear farmers to strengthen their livelihood and free them from their burdens. Only by collective efforts of the government, NGO’s and we, the people, can this problem be abolished forever.

Also Read – Solid State Fermentation: A Handy Technology For Microbial Cultivation





  • Microbial amelioration of crop salinity stress Ian C. Dodd1,* and Francisco Pe´ rez-Alfocea Journal of Experimental Botany, Vol. 63, No. 9, pp. 3415–3428, 2012

  • Abiotic stress responses and Microbe-Mediated Mitigation in Plants: The Omics Strategies Kamlesh Meena et al.

  • Reference of figure: Abiotic stress responses and Microbe-Mediated Mitigation in Plants: The Omics Strategies Kamlesh Meena et al.