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FiBL project

Title Inoculation of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and rhizobacteria (PGPR) for sustainable cropping systems in India
Official Acronym ISCB BFNet FiBL (Biofertilizer Network)
FiBL project number 10007

Rice, wheat and pulses are staple food crops in India. Despite the well-known nutritiousness of this diet, malnutrition is wide spread due to a lack of energy, proteins and trace elements. The use of chemical phosphorus fertilizers is often very inefficient due to high sorption properties of the soils. The production of high quality food accompanied by soil fertility improvement and chemical input minimization are therefore of key importance in particular for the rural population in remote areas.

The scarcity of non-renewable resources such as soils and fertilizers, as well as the consequences of climate change, may dramatically influence the food security of future generations. The introduction of mutualistic root microorganisms such as plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), also known as bio-fertilizers, is a sustainable way to increase plant yield and quality while improving soil quality.

In the third phase of this project, FiBL conceptualised and assisted in the implementation of a series of field trials, together with Indian and Swiss partners, where bio-fertilizers were tested with a focus on wheat (Triticum aestivum [L.]). The sites covered most states of Northern India where wheat is the major staple food crop and is planted in wheat-rice (Oriza sativa [L.]) or wheat-black gram (Vigna mungo [L.], Hepper) rotations. The results have shown that wheat yields can be increased by 41% upon inoculation of bio-fertilizers. In addition, macro- and micronutrients were enhanced and soil quality was improved as indicated by higher soil enzyme activities (alkaline and acid phosphatase, urease and dehydrogenase). We concluded that mutualistic root microorganisms have a high potential to contribute to food security and to improve the nutritional status in Southern countries, while safeguarding natural resources such as phosphorus stocks.

In the current fourth phase of the project bio-fertilizers will be developed for pigeon pea and finger millet inter-cropping systems  traditionally grown in South India.

Project website


Project status completed
Start of project 01.01.2008
End of project 31.12.2014
(Research) Programme
  • Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Project partners
  • Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Ackerstrasse, 5070 Frick, Switzerland
  • Biotechnology and Bioresources Division, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Darbari Seth Block, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road, 110003 New Delhi, India
  • Department of Biological Sciences, CBSH, G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, 263 145 Pantnagar, UK, India
  • Department of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Hauz Khas, 110016 New Delhi, India
  • Institute of Biology, Laboratory of Microbial Ecology, University of Neuchâtel, Rue Emile-Argand 11, PO Box 198, 2009 Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  • Institute of Botany, University of Basle, Hebelstrasse 1, 4056 Basle, Switzer-land
  • Department of Biotechnology, Barkatullah University, 462026 Bhopal, MP, India
  • Agroscope Reckenholz-Tänikon Research Station (ART), Reckenholzstrasse 211, 8046 Zurich, Switzerland
Project Advisory Board


FiBL project leader/ contact
FiBL project staff
  • Berset Estelle
  • Meier Matthias (Department of Socio-Economic Sciences)
  • Schader Christian (Department of Socio-Economic Sciences)
  • Symanczik Sarah (Department of Soil Sciences)
Role of FiBL

Swiss project Co-Ordinator

Further Information
Research area
Date modified 13.06.2019
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