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Keywords:

  • disease control;
  • induced resistance;
  • plant growth promoting rhizobacteria;
  • root rot;
  • tea

Abstract

Aim:  To evaluate Ochrobactrum anthropi TRS-2 isolated from tea rhizosphere and its talc based formulation for growth promotion and management of brown root rot disease of tea.

Methods and Results: Ochrobactrum anthropi TRS-2, isolated from tea rhizosphere could solubilize phosphate, produce siderophore and IAA in vitro and also exhibited antifungal activity against six test pathogens. Application of an aqueous suspension of O. anthropi to the rhizosphere of nursery grown tea seedlings of five varieties of tea (TV-18, T-17, HV-39, S-449, UP-3 and) led to enhanced growth of the treated plants, as evidenced by increase in height, in the number of shoots and number of leaves per shoot. Treatment with O. anthropi also decreased brown root rot of tea, caused by Phellinus noxius. Multifold increase in activities of chitinase, β-1,3-glucanase, peroxidase and phenylalanine ammonia lyase in tea plants was observed on application of O. anthropi to soil followed by inoculation with P. noxius. A concomitant increase in accumulation of phenolics was also obtained. Further, talc based formulation of O. anthropi was prepared and its survival determined every month up to a period of 12 months. Ochrobactrum anthropi could survive in the formulation up to a period of 9 months with a concentration of 7·0 log10 CFU g−1, after which there was a decline. Talc formulation was as effective as aqueous suspensions in both plant growth promotion and disease suppression.

Conclusion: Ochrobactrum anthropi, either in aqueous suspension or as talc formulation induced growth of tea plants and suppressed brown root rot disease. It induced defense responses in tea plants.

Significance and Impact of the Study: Ochrobactrum anthropi and its talc based formulation can be considered as an addition to available plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) currently being used for field application. The present study offers a scope of utilizing this bacterium for growth promotion and disease management which would help in reduction of the use of chemicals in tea plantations.