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Ahmad I.,COMSATS Institute of Information Technology | Ahmad I.,University of Agriculture at Faisalabad | Akhtar M.J.,University of Agriculture at Faisalabad | Asghar H.N.,University of Agriculture at Faisalabad | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Plant Growth Regulation | Year: 2015

Maize is a plant known for food, feed, and energy value, but being a greater biomass, it may also be utilized to extract pollutants from soil. Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) may act as biofertilizer to improve plant health and indirectly may enhance metal extraction. This study focuses on five bacterial strains isolated from the vegetable (Bitter gourd) rhizosphere irrigated with industrial effluent and characterized for various plant growth-promoting activities. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequencing, bacterial strains belonging to the genera, Bacillus (CIK-517, CIK-519), Klebsiella (CIK-518), Leifsonia (CIK-521), and Enterobacter (CIK-521R), were tested for their ability to promote maize growth in axenic conditions. Results showed negative and positive regulation of maize growth by the exogenous application of Cd and PGPR, respectively. Seed germination assays revealed significant reduction in relative seedling growth of maize cultivars upon Cd exposure (0–80 mg Cd L−1). The tested strains showed tolerance to Cd (1.78–4.45 mmol L−1) and were positive for catalase, oxidase, phosphate solubilization, exopolysaccharide (EPS), and auxin production, whereas CIK-518, CIK-519, and CIK-521R were negative for EPS, phosphate solubilization, and oxidase activities, respectively. Bacterial strains significantly increased shoot/root growth and their dry biomass in normal and Cd-contaminated soil as compared to their respective controls. None of the strains showed significant effects on relative water content or membrane permeability; however, Cd uptake significantly increased in plant tissues upon bacterial inoculation. Bacterial strains CIK-518 and CIK-521R are effective colonizers and thus can be potential inoculants to promote maize growth and Cd extraction/stabilization in Cd-contaminated soil. © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media New York

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