Tea and biofertilizers: A below ground biodiversity sustainable approach
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Tea is produced in the humid tropical and sub-tropical regions, which are home to rich biodiversity. The tea plantation environments have the potential to conserve a rich biodiversity which could serve as a source of biofertilizers. The natural abundance of microorganisms within the tea agro-ecosystems are expected to play a key role in sustainability of environment and increase tea performance and quality. However, agricultural and anthropogenic practices interfere with the tea agro-ecosystems and reduce the potential of the below ground biodiversity in sustainable tea production. The extent of this interference differs agro-ecologically and mapping of the biodiversities could provide a guide into the rich sampling sites which can be characterized, isolated, bulked and packaged into biofertilizers. Biofertilizers often double as efficient plant-aids in nutrient uptake and biopesticides, and offer an alternative to inorganic fertilizers and chemical pesticides which are a threat to humans and environments. Currently, the biotechnological manipulation of the tea rich biodiversities is very limited despite the opportunity it offers in biofertilizer production and utilization.