A field experiment was conducted for two years (1994–96) to evaluate three nitrogen fixing bacteria (NFBs) namely Azotobacter, Azospirillum and Beijerinckia as foliar biofertilizers on mulberry (Morus spp.). Foliar application of these bacteria in their specific culture media with half of the recommended dose of N as a basal application of chemical fertilizer were compared with the recommended dose of N (300 kg/ha per year in four equal splits) but without biofertilizer. Other controls for comparison were respective culture media with half N. All the NFBs improved leaf yield over their respective controls (specific culture media). The addition of Azotobacter resulted in significantly greater yield than that given by the recommended dose of N. The Beijerinckia treatment resulted in a leaf yield equal to that from the recommended dose of N and Azospirillum reduced leaf yield in comparison to that from the recommended N treatment although the yield from Azospirillum treatment was more than that from the culture medium treatments. A combination of NFBs where Azotobacter was one of the components improved leaf yield over single NFB treatments. NFBs also resulted in improved leaf quality as indicated by their protein content and their impact on silkworm rearing and cocoon production when treated leaves were subjected to bioassay. The use of these NFBs, particularly the Azotobacter, as a foliar biofertilizer to increase mulberry leaf production has not been investigated before.
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