Biological soil crusts: from ecology to biotechnology
Rossi, Federico; Adessi, Alessandra; De Philippis, Roberto
Abstract While the beneficial effects of algalization to improve agricultural fields are well known, a limited number of inoculation studies have been so far carried out in prohibitive constrained ecosystems, where soil is unconsolidated, with very limited nutrient levels and high abiotic stress levels. Recent results show that some cyanobacterial strains such as the non-heterocystous exopolysaccharide-producer Microcoleus vaginatus, are able to grow in such conditions developing quickly into biological soil crusts, kicking off beneficial microbiological processes potentially able to shift the state of the environment. This paper reviews the state of the art of this technology, pointing out the existing gaps to fulfill in order to address different issues, including land rehabilitation and desertification counteraction.