Potassium-Solubilizing Bacteria (KSB): A Microbial Tool for K-Solubility, Cycling, and Availability to Plants

  • Indra Bahadur
  • Ragini Maurya
  • Pratiti Roy
  • Ashok Kumar


The potassium (K) requirement of crops is fulfilled solely from the soil solution form. About 98% of the K is fixed in the soil system whereas only 2% is readily available to plants. Many of the efficient microbes have a key role in solubilizing the unavailable form of K to stimulate crop yield. The lack of good-quality K-mineral has hindered the manufacturing of K-fertilizers in India; hence, the entire quantity of K-fertilizers is imported. This situation warrants a call for alternative means and technology to cater to the growing need of K requirements of crops and restore soil fertility. This book chapter will be helpful to display the indigenous sources of potassium as a substitute for costly imported K-fertilizers in time of need while discussing the concept of solubilization of native K-minerals. In this chapter, the main emphasis is a brief introduction of the significant scenario of potassium, past research work carried out in India and abroad, and summarizing the role of the latter of significant importance to soil scientists, agricultural microbiologists, and students interested in the area of soil microbiology who may work on the microbial consortium for solubilization of K to enhance crop production.


K-solubilizing Agricultural soils Crop productivity 


  1. Archana DS, Nandish MS, Savalagi VP, Alagawadi AR (2013) Characterization of potassium solubilizing bacteria (KSB) from rhizosphere soil. Bioinfolet – a quarterly. J Life Sci 10(1b):248–257Google Scholar
  2. Argelis DT, Gonzala DA, Vizcaino C, Gartia MT (1993) Biochemical mechanism of stone alteration carried out by filamentous fungi living in monuments. Bio-Geol Chem 19:129–147Google Scholar
  3. Badar MA, Shafei AM, Sharaf El-Deen SH (2006) The dissolution of K and phosphorus bearing minerals by silicate dissolving bacteria and their effect on sorghum growth. Res J Agric Biol Sci 2:5–11Google Scholar
  4. Bahadur I, Maurya BR, Kumar S, Dixit J, Chauhan AS, Manjhi BK, Meena VS, Narayan SRP (2015) The novel potassic bio-fertilizers: a promising approach for Evergreen. Agric Int J Microbiol Res 7(5):692–697Google Scholar
  5. Bajpai PD, Sundara R (1971) Phosphate solubilizing bacteria, solubilization of phosphate in liquid culture by selected bacteria as affected by different pH values. Soil Sci Plant Nutr 17:41–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Banik S, Dey BK (1982) Available phosphate content of an alluvial soil as influenced by inoculation of some isolated phosphate solubilizing microbes. Plant Soil 69:353–364CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Basak BB, Biswas DR (2008) Influence of potassium solubilizing microorganism (Bacillus mucilaginosus) and waste mica on potassium uptake dynamics by sudan grass (Sorghum vulgare Pers.) grown under two Alfisols. Plant Soil 317(1–2):235–255Google Scholar
  8. Diep CN, Hieu TN (2013) Phosphate and potassium solubilizing bacteria from weathered materials of denatured rock mountain, Ha Tien, Kiên Giang province, Vietnam. Am J Life Sci 1(3):88–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hu X, Chen J, Guo J (2006) Two phosphate-and potassium-solubilizing bacteria isolated from Tianmu Mountain, Zhejiang, China. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 22(9):983–990CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Huang WH, Longo JM (1992) The effect of organics on feldspar dissolution and the development of secondary porosity. Chem Geol 98:271–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Liu D, Lian B, Dong H (2012) Isolation of Paenibacillus sp. and assessment of its potential for enhancing mineral weathering. Geomicrobiology 29:413–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Maurya BR, Meena VS, Meena OP (2014) Influence of inceptisol and alfisol’s potassium solubilizing bacteria (KSB) isolates on release of K from waste mica. Vegetos 27(1):181–187Google Scholar
  13. Meena OP, Maurya BR, Meena VS (2013) Influence of K-solubilizing bacteria on release of potassium from waste mica. Agric Sustain Dev 1(1):53–56Google Scholar
  14. Meena VS, Maurya BR, Bahadur I (2014) Potassium solubilization by bacterial strain in waste mica. Bangladesh J Bot 43(2):235–237CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Meena VS, Maurya BR, Verma JP (2015a) Does a rhizospheric microorganism enhance K+ availability in agricultural soils? Microbiol Res 169:337–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Meena VS, Maurya BR, Verma JP, Aeron A, Kumar A, Kim K, Bajpai VK (2015b) Potassium solubilizing rhizobacteria (KSR): isolation, identification, and K-release dynamics from waste mica. Ecol Eng 81:340–347CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mengel K, Kirkby EA (1987) Principles of plant nutrition. International Potash Institute, Bern, pp 200–210Google Scholar
  18. Prajapati K (2016) Impact of potassium solubilizing bacteria on growth and yield of mungebean Vigna radiata. Indian J Appl Res 6(2):390–392Google Scholar
  19. Prajapati K, Modi HA (2014) The study of shelf life of potassium solubilizing microbes for liquid biofertilizer. Indian J Res 3(6):13–14Google Scholar
  20. Prajapati K, Sharma MC, Modi HA (2012) Optimization of medium components for potassium solubilizing fungus: Aspergillus terreus (KSF 1) by response surface methodology. Indian J Fund Appl Life Sci 2(4):54–60Google Scholar
  21. Rajawat MVS, Singh S, Singh G, Saxena AK (2012) Isolation and characterization of K-solubilizing bacteria isolated from different rhizospheric soils. In: Proceedings of 53rd Annual Conference of Association of Microbiologists of India, p 124Google Scholar
  22. Rajawat MVS, Singh S, Tyagi SP, Saxena AK (2016) A modified plate assay for rapid screening of potassium-solubilizing bacteria. Pedosphere 26(5):768–773CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rawlings DE (2002) Heavy metal mining using microbes. Annu Rev Microbiol 56:65–91PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Saha M, Maurya BR, Meena VS, Bahadur I, Kumar A (2016) Identification and characterization of potassium solubilizing bacteria (KSB) from Indo-Gangetic Plains of India. Biocatal Agric Biotechnol 7:202–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Sheng XF (2005) Growth promotion and increased potassium uptake of cotton and rape by a potassium releasing strain of Bacillus edaphicus. Soil Biol Biochem 37(10):1918–1922CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Sheng XF, He LY (2006) Solubilization of potassium-bearing minerals by a wild-type strain of Bacillus edaphicus and its mutants and increased potassium uptake by wheat. Can J Microbiol 52(1):66–72PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Sheng XF, Xia JJ, Chen J (2003) Mutagenesis of the Bacillus edaphicus strain NBT and its effect on growth of chilli and cotton. Agric Sci China J 37:342–349Google Scholar
  28. Singh S, Maurya BR, Bahadur I (2018) Morphological, colonial and biochemical characteristics of K-solubilizing bacterial isolates. J Pharmacogn Phytochem 7(1):1874–1878Google Scholar
  29. Sparks DL (1987) Potassium dynamics in soils. Adv Soil Sci 6:1–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Sparks DL, Huang PM (1985) Physical chemistry of soil potassium. In: Munson RD (ed) Potassium in agriculture. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, pp 201–276Google Scholar
  31. Sperber JI (1958) Release of phosphate from soil minerals by hydrogen sulphide. Nature (Lond) 181:934CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Styriakova I, Styriak I, Galko I, Hradil D, Bezdicka P (2003) The release of iron-bearing minerals and dissolution of feldspar by heterotrophic bacteria of Bacillus species. Ceram Silicaty 47(1):20–26Google Scholar
  33. Taha SM, Mahmoud SAZ, Halim El-Damaty A, Abd El-Hafez A (1969) Activity of phosphate-dissolving bacteria in Egyptian soils. Plant Soil 31:149–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Uroz S, Calvaruso C, Turpault MP, Pierrat JC, Mustin C, Frey-Klett P (2007) Effect of the mycorrhizosphere on the genotypic and metabolic diversity of the bacterial communities involved in mineral weathering in a forest soil. Appl Environ Microbiol 73:3019–3027PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Verma P, Yadav AN, Khannam KS, Panjiar N, Kumar S, Saxena AK, Suman A (2015) Assessment of genetic diversity and plant growth promoting attributes of psychrotolerant bacteria allied with wheat (Triticum aestivum) from the northern hills zone of India. Ann Microbiol 65(4):1885–1899. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wu SC, Cao ZH, Li ZG, Cheung KC, Wong MH (2005) Effect of bio-fertilizers containing N-fixer, P and K solubilizers and AM-fungi on maize growth. Geoderma 125:155–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Zandonadi DB, Santos MP, Dobbss LB, Olivares FL, Canellas LP, Binzel ML, Okorokova-Facanha AL, Facanha AR (2010) Nitric oxide mediates humic acids-induced root development and plasma membrane H+ ATPase activation. Planta (Berl) 231:1025–1036CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Zeng X, Liu X, Tang J, Hu S, Jiang P, Li W (2012) Characterization and potassium solubilizing ability of Bacillus circulans Z1-3. Adv Sci Lett 10:173–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Zhang C, Kong F (2014) Isolation and identification of potassium-solubilizing bacteria from tobacco rhizospheric soil and their effect on tobacco plants. Appl Soil Ecol 82:18–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Indra Bahadur
    • 1
  • Ragini Maurya
    • 2
  • Pratiti Roy
    • 3
  • Ashok Kumar
    • 3
  1. 1.Soil and Land Use Survey of India, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers WelfareGOI, Kolkata CentreKolkataIndia
  2. 2.Department of HorticultureInstitute of Agricultural Sciences, Banaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia
  3. 3.Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding (Plant Biotechnology), Rajiv Gandhi South CampusBanaras Hindu UniversityMirzapurIndia

Personalised recommendations