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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 863240, 11 pages
Review Article

Microbial Inoculants and Their Impact on Soil Microbial Communities: A Review

Laboratory of Legumes, Centre of Biotechnology of Borj-Cédria, P.O. Box 901, 2050 Hammam-Lif, Tunisia

Received 10 April 2013; Revised 7 June 2013; Accepted 25 June 2013

Academic Editor: Ameur Cherif

Copyright © 2013 Darine Trabelsi and Ridha Mhamdi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The knowledge of the survival of inoculated fungal and bacterial strains in field and the effects of their release on the indigenous microbial communities has been of great interest since the practical use of selected natural or genetically modified microorganisms has been developed. Soil inoculation or seed bacterization may lead to changes in the structure of the indigenous microbial communities, which is important with regard to the safety of introduction of microbes into the environment. Many reports indicate that application of microbial inoculants can influence, at least temporarily, the resident microbial communities. However, the major concern remains regarding how the impact on taxonomic groups can be related to effects on functional capabilities of the soil microbial communities. These changes could be the result of direct effects resulting from trophic competitions and antagonistic/synergic interactions with the resident microbial populations, or indirect effects mediated by enhanced root growth and exudation. Combination of inoculants will not necessarily produce an additive or synergic effect, but rather a competitive process. The extent of the inoculation impact on the subsequent crops in relation to the buffering capacity of the plant-soil-biota is still not well documented and should be the focus of future research.