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Microbiol Res. 2008;163(2):173-81. Epub 2006 Jun 2.

Screening of free-living rhizospheric bacteria for their multiple plant growth promoting activities.

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Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202002, India.


Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are known to influence plant growth by various direct or indirect mechanisms. In search of efficient PGPR strains with multiple activities, a total of 72 bacterial isolates belonging to Azotobacter, fluorescent Pseudomonas, Mesorhizobium and Bacillus were isolated from different rhizospheric soil and plant root nodules in the vicinity of Aligarh. These test isolates were biochemically characterized. These isolates were screened in vitro for their plant growth promoting traits like production of indoleacetic acid (IAA), ammonia (NH(3)), hydrogen cyanide (HCN), siderophore, phosphate solubilization and antifungal activity. More than 80% of the isolates of Azotobacter, fluorescent Pseudomonas and Mesorhizobium ciceri produced IAA, whereas only 20% of Bacillus isolates was IAA producer. Solubilization of phosphate was commonly detected in the isolates of Bacillus (80%) followed by Azotobacter (74.47%), Pseudomonas (55.56%) and Mesorhizobium (16.67%). All test isolates could produce ammonia but none of the isolates hydrolyzed chitin. Siderophore production and antifungal activity of these isolates except Mesorhizobium were exhibited by 10-12.77% isolates. HCN production was more common trait of Pseudomonas (88.89%) and Bacillus (50%). On the basis of multiple plant growth promoting activities, eleven bacterial isolates (seven Azotobacter, three Pseudomonas and one Bacillus) were evaluated for their quantitative IAA production, and broad-spectrum (active against three test fungi) antifungal activity. Almost at all concentration of tryptophan (50-500 microg/ml), IAA production was highest in the Pseudomonas followed by Azotobacter and Bacillus isolates. Azotobacter isolates (AZT(3), AZT(13), AZT(23)), Pseudomonas (Ps(5)) and Bacillus (B(1)) showed broad-spectrum antifungal activity on Muller-Hinton medium against Aspergillus, one or more species of Fusarium and Rhizoctonia bataticola. Further evaluation of the isolates exhibiting multiple plant growth promoting (PGP) traits on soil-plant system is needed to uncover their efficacy as effective PGPR.

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