The present study was aimed to isolate and develop cellulolytic microbial consortium for preparing compost from various crop residues. Further, the effect of leaf litter compost was tested for plant growth promotion along with different levels of Recommended Dose of Fertilizer (RDF). Leaf litter compost and Farm yard manure samples were used for isolation of cellulolytic bacteria. Isolates were screened based on cellulase and xylanase activities and identified by 16S rDNA sequencing. Microbial consortium was developed and tested their efficiency for composting of different cellulosic waste materials. Effect of leaf litter compost on Black gram growth and yield was tested with different doses of recommended fertilizer. Based on xylanase and cellulase activities two bacterial isolates (ACC52 and ACCA2) were selected from the total of 15 isolates. Based on 16S rDNA sequence analysis ACC52 and ACCA2 isolates were identified as Bacillus safensis and Enhydrobacter aerosaccus, respectively. Use of these two isolates as a consortium in the composting of leaf litter resulted in higher nutrient release and lower C:N ratio compared to other agricultural wastes composted using the same bacterial consortium. Recommended dose of leaf litter compost with 75% of the RDF showed higher germination rate (95%), plant growth (27.7 cm) and number of pods (31 pods per plant) of Black gram compared to the application of 100% RDF and compost. Results of this study illustrated that the leaf litter compost developed by the microbial consortium mediated decomposition could reduce the fertilizer usage by 25% without compromising the yield.
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