Journal of Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 644–649 | Cite as

Biofertilizing Effect of Chlorella sorokiniana Suspensions on Wheat Growth

  • Rajaa KholssiEmail author
  • Evan A. N. Marks
  • Jorge Miñón
  • Olimpio Montero
  • Abderrahmane Debdoubi
  • Carlos Rad


The potential of microalgae as a biofertilizer in agriculture is increasingly recognized. We studied the effect of applications of Chlorella on growth of wheat in terms of its phytostimulating capacity and its potential for substituting chemical fertilizers. Four biofertilizer treatments were used in this experiment: (i) Biomass of Chlorella sorokiniana harvested by centrifugation from cultures in the exponential growth phase and re-suspended in spent growth medium (Solution 1); (ii) filtered BG11 medium used for algae culture after the algae biomass was harvested (Solution 2); (iii) harvested algae that were re-suspended in fresh BG11 medium (Solution 3); and (iv) fresh BG11 medium (Control). Seeds of Triticum aestivum were germinated in pots containing a growing substrate (peat vermiculite 1:1 (v/v) mixture) and grown for 15 days with applications of the four treatments solutions. In general, plant length was increased by 30% with Solution 2; total dry biomass of aboveground and belowground parts were improved by 22% and 51%, respectively, in treatments with filtrate of Chlorella sorokiniana (Solution 2), as compared to the control, indicating that nutrients and extracellular substances excreted by algae in the filtrate were pertinent to the beneficial effects on plant growth.


Bio-fertilizer Soil microalgae Chlorella Plant growth promotion 



This work was financed by LIFE13 ENV/ES/001251 EU Project. Rajaa Kholssi benefits from a grant of the AECID (Foreign Office of Spanish Government). Alexandra Casado Marín collaborated in technical assistance and she was funded by Fondo de Garantía Juvenil (Regional Government of Castilla y Léon).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Adesemoye AO, Torbert HA, Kloepper JW (2009) Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria allow reduced application rates of chemical fertilizers. Microb Ecol 58:921–929CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bobade KP, Kolte SO, Patil BG (1992) Effectivity of cyanobacterial technology for transplanted rice. Phykos 31:33–35Google Scholar
  3. Choudhury ATMA, Kennedy IR (2005) Nitrogen fertilizer losses from rice soils and control of environmental pollution problems. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 36:1625–1639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. De Caire GZ, De Cano MS, Palma RM, De Mule MCZ (2000) Changes in soil enzyme activities following additions of cyanobacterial biomass and exopolysaccharide. Soil Biol Biochem 32:1985–1987CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. De Cano MMS, De Caire GZ, De Mulé MCZ, Palma RM (2002) Effect of Tolypothrix tenuis and Microchaete tenera on biochemical soil properties and maize growth. J Plant Nutr 25:2421–2431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Elarroussia H, Elmernissia N, Benhimaa R, Isam MEK, Najib B, Abedelaziz S, Imane W (2016) Microalgae polysaccharides a promising plant growth biostimulant. J Algal Biomass Utln 7:55–63Google Scholar
  7. El-Ayouty YM, Ghazal FM, Hassan AZA, Abd El-Aal AAM (2004) Effect of algal inoculation and different water holding capacity levels on soils under tomato cultivation condition. J Agric Sci Mansoura Univ 29:2801–2809Google Scholar
  8. Faheed FA, Abd-El Fattah Z (2008) Effect of Chlorella vulgaris as bio-fertilizer on growth parameters and metabolic aspects of lettuce plant. J Agri Soc Sci 4:165–169Google Scholar
  9. Grzzesik M, Romanowska-Duda Z (2014) Improvements germination, growth, and metabolic activity of corn seedlings by grain conditioning and root application with cyanobacteria and microalgae. Pol J Environ Stud 23:1147–1153Google Scholar
  10. Grzzesik M, Romanowska-Duda Z, Kalaji HM (2017) Effectiveness of cyanobacteria and green algae in enhancing the photosynthetic performance and growth of willow (Salix viminalis L.) plants under limited synthetic fertilizers application. Photosynthetica 55:510–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jeong MJ, Gillis JM, Hwang JY (2003) Carbon dioxide mitigation by microalgal photosynthesis. Bull Korean Chem Soc 24:1763–1766CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kholssi R, Marks EAN, Montero O, Pascual A, Debdoubi A, Rad C (2017) The growth of filamentous microalgae is increased on biochar solid supports. Biocatal Agric Biotech 13:182–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Li R, Tao R, Ling N, Chu G (2017) Chemical, organic and bio-fertilizer management practices effect on soil physicochemical property and antagonistic bacteria abundance of a cotton field: implications for soil biological quality. Soil Tillage Res 167:30–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Malam IO, Défarge C, Le BY, Marin B, Duval O, Bruand A, D’Acqui LP, Nordenberg S, Annerman M (2007) Effects of the inoculation of cyanobacteria on the microstructure and the structural stability of a tropical soil. Plant Soil 290:209–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Maqubela MP, Mnkeni PNS, Malam IO, Pardo MT, D’Acqui LP (2009) Nostoc cyanobacterial inoculation in South African agricultural soils enhances soil structure, fertility and maize growth. Plant Soil 315:79–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Marks EAN, Jorge M, Ana PM, Olimpio M, Luis MN, Rad C (2017) Application of a microalgal slurry to soil stimulates heterotrophic activity and promotes bacterial growth. Sci Total Environ 605–606:610–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Nirmal R, Abhishek G, Radha P, Poonam S, Faizal B (2018) Microalgae as multi-functional options in modern agriculture: current trends, prospects and challenges. Biotechnol Adv 36:1255–1273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Obana S, Miyamoto K, Morita S, Ohmori M, Inubushi K (2007) Effect of Nostoc sp. on soil characteristics, plant growth and nutrient up take. J Appl Phycol 19:641–646CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ördög V, Stirk WA, Van SJ, Novák O, Strand M (2004) Endogenous cytokinins in three genera of microalgae from Chlorophyta. J Phycol 40:88–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pandey KD, Shukla PN, Giri DD, Kashyap AK (2005) Cyanobacteria in alkaline soil and the effect of cyanobacteria inoculation with pyrite amendments on their reclamation. Biol Fertil Soils 41:451–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rai MK (2006) Handbook of microbial biofertilizers. Food Products Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc, Binghamton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Saadatnia H, Riahi H (2009) Cyanobacteria from paddy fields in Iran as a biofertilizer in rice plants. Plant Soil Environ 55:207–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Schreiber C, Henning S, Lucy H, Christoph B, Bärbel A, Josefine K, Silvia DS, Diana H, Dipali S, Oliver E, Wulf A, Ulrich S, Tabea MA, Gregor H, Nicolai DJ, Ladislav N (2018) Evaluating potential of green alga Chlorella vulgaris to accumulate phosphorus and to fertilize nutrient-poor soil substrates for crop plants. J Appl Phycol 1573–5176:1–10Google Scholar
  24. Shaaban MM (2001) Nutritional status and growth of maize plants as affected by green microalgae as soil additives. Online J Biol Sci 1:475–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Soil Survey Staff (2010) Illustrated Guide to Soil Taxonomy. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Soil Survey Center, LincolnGoogle Scholar
  26. Stirk WA, Ördög V, Staden JV, Jäger K (2002) Cytokinin-and auxin-like activity in Cyanophyta and microalgae. J Appl Phycol 14:215–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Taher MT, Mohamed AY (2015) Improvement of Growth Parameters of Zea mays and properties of soil inoculated with two Chlorella species. Rep Opin 7:22–27Google Scholar
  28. Tarakhovskaya ER, Maslov YI, Shishova MF (2007) Phytohormones in algae. Russ J Plant Physiol 54:163–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Thilagar G, Bagyaraja DJ, Rao MS (2016) Selected microbial consortia developed for chilly reduces application of chemical fertilizers by 50% under field conditions. Sci Hortic 198:27–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Verhulst PF (1838) Notice sur la loi que la population suit dans son accroissement. Curr Math Phys 10:113–121Google Scholar
  31. Wake H, Akasaka A, Unetsu H, Ozeki Y, Shimomura K, Matsunaga T (1992) Enhanced germination of artificial seeds by marine cyanobacterial extract. Appl Environ Microbiol 36:684–688Google Scholar
  32. Zaccaro MC, De Caire GZ, De Cano MS, Palma RM, Colombo K (1999) Effect of cyanobacterial inoculation and fertilizers on rice seedlings and postharvest soil structure. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 30:97–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rajaa Kholssi
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Evan A. N. Marks
    • 1
  • Jorge Miñón
    • 1
  • Olimpio Montero
    • 2
  • Abderrahmane Debdoubi
    • 3
  • Carlos Rad
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Group in Composting UBUCOMP, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of BurgosBurgosSpain
  2. 2.Centre for Biotechnology Development (CBD-CSIC)BoecilloSpain
  3. 3.Laboratory of Materials-Catalysis, Chemistry DepartmentFaculty of ScienceTetouanMorocco

Personalised recommendations