BACKGROUND: There is increasing interest in the development of technologies which can reduce the requirement for chemical fertilisers in rice production. The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of Bacillus cereus strain RS87 for the partial replacement of chemical fertiliser in rice production. A greenhouse experiment was designed using different fertiliser regimes, with and without strain RS87. Six Thai rice cultivars were tested separately.
RESULTS: Maximum rice growth and yield were obtained in rice receiving the full recommended fertiliser rate in combination with the strain RS87. Interestingly, all rice cultivars which were treated with strain RS87 and 50% recommended fertiliser rate provided equivalent plant growth and yield to that receiving the full recommended fertiliser rate only. A paired comparison between rice treated with 50% of the recommended fertiliser rate with the bacterial inoculant and the full fertiliser rate alone was further examined in small experimental rice paddy fields. Growth and yield of all rice cultivars which received the 50% fertiliser rate supplemented with strain RS87 gave a similar yield to that receiving the full fertiliser rate alone.
CONCLUSION: Bacterial strain RS87 showed the potential to replace 50% of the recommended fertiliser rate for yield production. Integration of plant growth-promoting rhizobacterial inoculants with reduced application rates of chemical fertiliser appears promising for future agriculture. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry