Growing demand of organic tea globally, Scientists identify bacteria that can replace fertilizers and pesticides in tea plants

The manufacture of organic tea is carried-out without the using chemical fertilizers and Pesticides as a result the made tea doesn’t contain any harmful chemical residues which can bring about adverse health effects.

Tightening norms on pesticide use in many countries have often harmed tea export. Researchers at Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST) Guwahati, have come up with a solution to reduce the use of such chemicals in tea plantations. They identify bacteria that can replace fertilizers and pesticide in tea plants.

According to scientific journal ‘Frontiers in Microbiology’, the team of Scientists led by Dr. Debajit Thakur of IASST have found significant plant-growth-promoting and antifungal activities of endophyticactino bacteria associated with Tea plant and related genera Eurya to find potent plant growth-promoting strains. Application of endophytic Actinobacteria could reduce chemical inputs in Tea plantation. This research finding confirms that endophyticactino bacteria have the potential to exhibit multiple growth-promoting traits such as IAA production, phosphate solubilization, siderophore production and so on that positively influence tea growth and production and can hence be used in the management and sustainability of Teacrop.

Tea plays an important role in the Indian economy as a major portion of the tea produced is exported. However, in the recent years, due to higher demand of chemical residue-free made tea by the importing countries has led to a decline in the export of tea. The present study attempts the use of endophyticactino bacteria having plant beneficial characteristics to reduce and replace the use of chemical inputs in the tea industry.

The tea plantations of India offer congenial environment for a large number of pests, diseases and weeds necessitating judicious use of chemical pesticides. Indiscriminate use of pesticides can invariably leave residues which may render the tea unsuitable for consumption and trade. But with this finding of identify bacteria that can replace fertilizers and pesticides, obviously will help in tea trade.

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