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Rhizosphere microbes facilitate redox homeostasis in Cicer arietinum against biotic stress



B.K. Sarma, Department of Mycology and Plant Pathology, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 221005, India. Email:


The aim of this study was to evaluate the potentiality of three compatible rhizosphere microbes, viz. fluorescent Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PHU094), Trichoderma harzianum (THU0816) and Mesorhizobium sp. (RL091), in community to mobilise antioxidant mechanisms in chickpea under the challenge of Sclerotium rolfsii. The microbes were applied as seed treatment in different combinations in two sets and the pathogen was inoculated in one of the sets after 3 weeks of sowing. A comparative study was conducted on the effect of the microbial combinations on host antioxidant mechanisms between the two sets. In pathogen challenged plants host defence responses included higher accumulation of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) at petiolar and interveinal regions of leaf and high activities of catalase (CAT), glutathione reductase (GR) and guaiacol peroxidase (GPx) compared to unchallenged plants. The antioxidant enzyme activities increased 1.8-3.3 and 1.9-3.1 folds at 48 and 72 h, respectively, in the triple microbe treated challenged plants compared to unchallenged ones. Although, ascorbate peroxidase (APX) activity was significantly low, ascorbic acid (AA) and chitinase accumulation was high in the pathogen challenged plants. Antioxidant flavonols associated with host defence namely myricetin, quercetin and kaempferol also accumulated in high amounts in pathogen challenged plants. Among the microbial treatments, the triple microbe combination induced the highest response in all parameters as compared to dual or single application of the same microbes. The triple microbe consortium modulated the chickpea antioxidant mechanisms more efficiently and modulation of oxidative stress was directly correlated with lower plant mortality, thus demonstrating the synergistic behaviour of the microbes in protecting chickpea from the pathogen.