Abstract

Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria provide an innovative solution to address challenges in sustainable agro-ecosystems, improving plant growth as well as acting as agents of biocontrol. In this study autochthonous bacteria were isolated from the rhizosphere of processing tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum L.) cultivated with conservation agriculture practices (i.e., reduced tillage and cover crops), and evaluated for both growth-promoting activities (PGPAs), and antagonistic potential against the phytopathogenic pest Sclerotinia sclerotiorum. Considering the several activities of PGPR, we decided to structure the screening with a hierarchic approach, starting from testing the capability of fixing nitrogen. The obtained bacteria were processed through the molecular typing technique rep-PCR (Repetitive Extragenic Palindromic) in order to discriminate microbial strains with the same profiles, and identified via 16S rDNA sequencing. Thirty-eight selected isolates were screened in vitro for different activities related to plant nutrition and plant growth regulation as well as for antifungal traits. Isolated bacteria were found to exhibit different efficiencies in indoleacetic acid production and siderophore production, phosphate solubilization and biocontrol activity against the widespread soil-borne plant pathogen S. sclerotiorum. All the 38 bacterial isolates showed at least one property tested. With a view to detect the suitable candidates to be developed as biofertilizers, the selected isolates were ranked by their potential ability to function as PGPR. Thus, consortium of native PGPR bacteria inoculants may represent a suitable solution to address the challenges in sustainable agriculture, to ensure crop yield and quality, lowering the application of chemicals input.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)668-689
Number of pages22
JournalPlants
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • IAA production
  • Sclerotinia sclerotiorum
  • biostimulants
  • conservation agriculture
  • diazotrophs
  • phosphate solubilizers
  • siderophores

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