Biofertilizers used in coconut farming

Biofertilizers used in coconut farming

Biofertilizers play a crucial role in sustainable coconut farming by promoting soil fertility, enhancing nutrient availability, and improving overall plant health. These natural inputs, derived from beneficial microorganisms, contribute to eco-friendly and resource-efficient agricultural practices. In coconut cultivation, several biofertilizers are commonly employed, each offering unique benefits to support the growth and productivity of coconut trees. Here's an in-depth exploration of the biofertilizers used in coconut farming:


Azotobacter is a nitrogen-fixing bacterium that establishes a symbiotic relationship with coconut trees. It converts atmospheric nitrogen into a form that is readily available for plant uptake, promoting nitrogen availability in the soil. This enhances vegetative growth, supports root development, and contributes to overall tree vigour. Azotobacter biofertilizers are usually applied through seed treatment or soil application in coconut plantations.


Rhizobium is a beneficial soil bacterium that forms nodules on the roots of leguminous plants, facilitating nitrogen fixation. While coconut trees are not leguminous, some coconut-associated nitrogen-fixing bacteria, related to Rhizobium, contribute to soil nitrogen availability. Introducing Rhizobium biofertilizers enhances nutrient cycling and promotes a healthy soil ecosystem, indirectly benefiting coconut trees in intercropping systems where leguminous plants are present.

Phosphate-Solubilizing Bacteria (PSB):

PSB biofertilizers enhance phosphate availability in the soil by solubilizing insoluble phosphates, making them accessible to plants. Coconut trees, with their extensive root systems, benefit from increased phosphorus uptake, supporting root development, flowering, and fruit setting. PSB biofertilizers are applied to the soil, promoting a sustainable and efficient phosphorus supply for coconut trees.


Mycorrhizal fungi form a mutualistic association with coconut tree roots, enhancing nutrient absorption, particularly phosphorus and micronutrients, from the soil. This symbiosis results in a more extensive root system, improving the tree's ability to withstand environmental stresses. Mycorrhizal biofertilizers contribute to soil structure, water retention, and nutrient cycling, fostering a conducive environment for coconut tree growth.


Trichoderma is a beneficial fungus that acts as a biocontrol agent against various soil-borne pathogens. In coconut farming, Trichoderma biofertilizers protect against diseases like basal stem rot and collar rot, promoting a disease-resistant environment. Additionally, Trichoderma enhances nutrient availability by solubilizing minerals and organic matter, contributing to improved soil health and sustained coconut tree productivity.


Pseudomonas biofertilizers comprise beneficial bacteria that exhibit plant growth-promoting properties and suppress harmful pathogens. In coconut farming, Pseudomonas biofertilizers contribute to disease control, particularly against fungal pathogens. These biofertilizers are applied to the soil or as foliar sprays, providing a protective shield against diseases that could otherwise affect coconut tree health and productivity.


Azospirillum is a nitrogen-fixing bacterium that forms associations with the roots of certain plants, promoting nitrogen availability. While coconut trees are not direct beneficiaries of Azospirillum, its application as a biofertilizer in intercropping systems with nitrogen-fixing plants can indirectly enhance soil fertility, contributing to a favourable environment for coconut tree growth.


Actinomycetes are beneficial bacteria with antifungal properties, contributing to disease suppression in the soil. In coconut farming, Actinomycetes biofertilizers help control soil-borne pathogens, ensuring a healthy root environment for coconut trees. These biofertilizers can be applied to the soil during planting or through various agronomic practices.

Cyanobacteria (Blue-Green Algae):

Cyanobacteria fix atmospheric nitrogen and form symbiotic relationships with certain plants. In India, they are used as biofertilizers in rice paddies to improve nitrogen content in flooded soils, reducing the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and promoting sustainable rice cultivation.

Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhizae (VAM):

VAM fungi form associations with the roots of various crops, enhancing nutrient absorption and improving soil structure. They are used in India for crops like pulses, oilseeds, and horticultural plants to increase nutrient availability and overall plant resilience.

Nitrogen-Fixing Blue-Green Algae (BGA):

BGA, including Anabaena and Nostoc, fix atmospheric nitrogen and are used as biofertilizers in India, particularly in rice fields. They contribute to nitrogen enrichment in flooded paddy soils, reducing the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.

These biofertilizers are applied through various methods such as seed treatment, soil application, foliar spray, and root dipping, depending on the crop and the specific requirements of the biofertilizer.

The widespread adoption of biofertilizers in India reflects a commitment to sustainable and environmentally conscious agricultural practices. These biofertilizers contribute significantly to soil health, nutrient availability, and overall agricultural productivity while addressing the challenges associated with chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Application Methods of Biofertilizers:

Biofertilizers in coconut farming are applied using several methods to ensure effective integration into the soil and promote maximum benefit to the coconut trees.

Seed Treatment:

Seeds are often treated with biofertilizers before planting to establish a beneficial microbial community around the root system from the early stages of plant development.

Soil Application:

Biofertilizers can be directly applied to the soil, either through broadcasting or localized application around the coconut tree's root zone. This method ensures that the beneficial microorganisms colonize the rhizosphere, promoting symbiotic relationships with the coconut tree roots.

Foliar Spray:

Some biofertilizers, such as Trichoderma and Pseudomonas, can be applied as foliar sprays. This method enhances disease resistance and introduces beneficial microorganisms directly to the plant's aerial parts.

Root Dipping:

Seedlings or young coconut plants can be subjected to root dipping in a biofertilizer solution before transplanting. This facilitates the establishment of beneficial microorganisms around the root system.

Before the overall coconut tree has been sprayed with bio-fertilizers it needs to be evaluated in terms of its vegetative growth to ensure that the dwarf coconut is a function of biofertilizer in the presence and absence of mulch. The experiment was conducted at ChácaraMãeD'Água in the municipality of Belém do Brejo do Cruz, PB from 2014 to 2015. The experimental design was in randomized blocks, with five replications in a factorial arrangement of 6 x 2 and 12 treatments. The treatments were related to six dosages of biofertilizer (0, 500, 1000, 1500, 2000 and 2500mL plant-1) in the presence and absence of soil cover. The interaction provided a significant effect on plant height, leaf area and leaf area of the plant. Probably the cover favoured a barrier in the soil avoiding loss of water by evaporation and high temperatures, providing ideal conditions for the action of the microorganisms present in the biofertilizer. The interaction of the factors promotes the development of green dwarf coconut, making it a viable alternative to family farming.

Benefits of Biofertilizers in Coconut Farming

The utilization of biofertilizers in coconut farming offers a myriad of benefits, contributing to sustainable agricultural practices, improved soil health, and enhanced coconut tree productivity. These natural inputs, derived from beneficial microorganisms, play a crucial role in promoting ecological balance and reducing reliance on synthetic fertilizers. Here's an in-depth exploration of the extensive benefits of biofertilizers in coconut farming:

  1. Sustainable Nutrient Supply: Biofertilizers, such as nitrogen-fixing bacteria like Azotobacter and Rhizobium, contribute to sustainable nutrient supply in coconut plantations. By fixing atmospheric nitrogen, these microorganisms convert it into a form that coconut trees can readily absorb. This reduces the dependency on chemical nitrogen fertilizers, promoting sustainable nutrient management and minimizing environmental impact.
  2. Improved Soil Fertility: The application of biofertilizers enhances soil fertility by fostering a diverse and beneficial microbial community. Phosphate-solubilizing bacteria (PSB), mycorrhizae, and other microbial agents contribute to the breakdown of organic matter, releasing nutrients and improving nutrient cycling. This creates a nutrient-rich environment in the soil, promoting optimal conditions for coconut tree growth.
  3. Enhanced Nutrient Uptake: Mycorrhizal fungi, in particular, form symbiotic relationships with coconut tree roots, facilitating improved nutrient uptake. These fungi extend the reach of the root system, enhancing the absorption of essential nutrients, especially phosphorus and micronutrients. This results in increased nutrient use efficiency, ensuring that coconut trees receive the necessary elements for their growth and development.
  4. Disease Suppression: Biofertilizers, such as Trichoderma and Pseudomonas, possess biocontrol properties, contributing to disease suppression in coconut farming. These beneficial microorganisms compete with and inhibit the growth of harmful pathogens, reducing the incidence of diseases like basal stem rot and collar rot. By providing a natural defence mechanism, biofertilizers contribute to the overall health and resilience of coconut trees.
  5. Improved Soil Structure: The activities of biofertilizers, especially mycorrhizal fungi and phosphate-solubilizing bacteria, contribute to improved soil structure. These microorganisms produce substances that enhance soil aggregation, creating a more stable and well-aerated soil structure. Improved soil structure promotes water infiltration, root growth, and the overall physical health of the soil.
  6. Environmental Sustainability: The use of biofertilizers aligns with environmentally sustainable agricultural practices. Unlike chemical fertilizers, which can have detrimental effects on soil, water, and ecosystems, biofertilizers contribute to the conservation of natural resources. Reduced reliance on synthetic inputs minimizes the risk of environmental pollution and supports the long-term sustainability of coconut farming.
  7. Increased Water Use Efficiency: Mycorrhizal associations in coconut trees enhance water use efficiency by extending the root system's reach and improving water absorption. This is particularly beneficial in regions with erratic rainfall or water scarcity. The improved water-use efficiency ensures that coconut trees maintain adequate hydration, even under challenging environmental conditions.
  8. Promotion of Beneficial Microbial Diversity: The introduction of biofertilizers promotes the diversity of beneficial microorganisms in the soil. This diversity contributes to the overall biological health of the coconut plantation, creating a balanced ecosystem that supports plant growth. A diverse microbial community helps suppress harmful pathogens, improves nutrient cycling, and enhances overall soil resilience.
  9. Reduced Environmental Impact: The application of biofertilizers contributes to reduced environmental impact compared to chemical fertilizers. Biofertilizers are generally considered environmentally friendly, as they do not introduce harmful chemicals into the soil and water. This reduction in chemical inputs supports biodiversity and minimizes negative effects on non-target organisms.
  10. Cost-Efficiency: While the initial investment in biofertilizers may vary, their long-term benefits often translate into cost savings for coconut farmers. Reduced dependence on synthetic fertilizers and lower susceptibility to diseases can lead to decreased input costs, contributing to improved economic viability in coconut farming.
  11. Enhanced Root Development: Mycorrhizal associations stimulate the development of a more extensive root system in coconut trees. This increased root mass enhances the tree's ability to absorb water and nutrients from the soil, contributing to overall plant health and resilience. Improved root development is particularly crucial during the establishment phase of young coconut trees.
  12. Promotion of Biological Nitrogen Fixation: Nitrogen-fixing bacteria, such as Azotobacter and Rhizobium, contribute to biological nitrogen fixation in coconut farming. This process enhances nitrogen availability in the soil, promoting vegetative growth, green frond development, and overall tree vigour. The reliance on biological nitrogen fixation reduces the need for synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, minimizing environmental nitrogen runoff.

The incorporation of biofertilizers in coconut farming provides a holistic and sustainable approach to soil fertility management and crop production. The diverse benefits, ranging from improved nutrient availability and disease suppression to environmental sustainability and cost-efficiency, make biofertilizers an essential component of modern coconut cultivation practices. As the agricultural industry continues to prioritize sustainable and eco-friendly methods, biofertilizers emerge as valuable allies in ensuring the long-term health and productivity of coconut trees.