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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1979 May;37(5):1016-24.

Plant Growth Substances Produced by Azospirillum brasilense and Their Effect on the Growth of Pearl Millet (Pennisetum americanum L.).

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Department of Soil Science, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Gainesville, Florida 32611.


Azospirillum brasilense, a nitrogen-fixing bacterium found in the rhizosphere of various grass species, was investigated to establish the effect on plant growth of growth substances produced by the bacteria. Thin-layer chromatography, high-pressure liquid chromatography, and bioassay were used to separate and identify plant growth substances produced by the bacteria in liquid culture. Indole acetic acid and indole lactic acid were produced by A. brasilense from tryptophan. Indole acetic acid production increased with increasing tryptophan concentration from 1 to 100 mug/ml. Indole acetic acid concentration also increased with the age of the culture until bacteria reached the stationary phase. Shaking favored the production of indole acetic acid, especially in a medium containing nitrogen. A small but biologically significant amount of gibberellin was detected in the culture medium. Also at least three cytokinin-like substances, equivalent to about 0.001 mug of kinetin per ml, were present. The morphology of pearl millet roots changed when plants in solution culture were inoculated. The number of lateral roots was increased, and all lateral roots were densely covered with root hairs. Experiments with pure plant hormones showed that gibberellin causes increased production of lateral roots. Cytokinin stimulated root hair formation, but reduced lateral root production and elongation of the main root. Combinations of indole acetic acid, gibberellin, and kinetin produced changes in root morphology of pearl millet similar to those produced by inoculation with A. brasilense.

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