How earthworm and fungi can save us from global food crisis and land degradation: A review


  • Janvi Sharma Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
  • Sadashiv Chaturvedi Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
  • Kirpa Ram Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi
  • Sinha Sahab Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi



Soil, abiotic and biotic stress, earthworm, bioremediation, mycoremediation


The human population is expected to be more than 9 billion by 2050. In order to feed this huge population, we would require about additional 60-70% food which is one of the major challenges ahead of humankind as well as to researchers. Although biotic stresses in soil such as microorganisms, insects, parasites, weeds are major reasons for reduced food production, abiotic stresses such as extreme temperature, soil salinity, natural disasters, pH imbalance are  significantly affect the soil quality. There is not only degradation in soil quality but also a significant reduction in arable agricultural land in India affecting the productivity and nutrition values of the grains. Therefore, there is an urgent need to not only increase food production but also to maintain its nutritional quality.  In addition, excess use of chemical fertilizers, increasing soil pollution and metal toxicity is becoming a serious threat and are responsible for reduced crop yield, crop failures and loss in agricultural economy worldwide. Moreover, the arable lands are not only shrinking due to industrialization, modernization and urbanization, ~50% of all arable land will be impacted by salinity by 2050. Indian continent is primarily agricultural driven and per capita land cover is decreasing day by day. On top of it, unregulated uses of chemical fertilizers are adding even more stress on the soil as well as produces greenhouse gases like N2O. Therefore, management of resources for future needs is ought to attain the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which are related to zero hunger, no poverty, good health and well being. This review describes agronomical transformation through organic manure, biofertilizer, vermicomposting and mycoremediation. These techniques are essential for maintaining the soil quality as well as can act to approach sustainability in agriculture. The ecological engineering using earthworms for enhancing and restoring soil fertility is discussed in detail along with Mycoremediation of toxins and salt by utilizing macro and arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) fungi.


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How to Cite

Sharma, J., Chaturvedi, S., Ram, K., & Sahab, S. (2023). How earthworm and fungi can save us from global food crisis and land degradation: A review. EQA - International Journal of Environmental Quality, 57(1), 29–39.