Aim: To isolate and characterize groundnut-associated bacterial isolates for growth promotion of groundnut in field.
Methods and Results: Three hundred and ninety-three groundnut-associated bacteria, representing the geocarposphere, phylloplane and rhizosphere, and endophytes were applied as seed treatment in greenhouse. Maximum increase in plant biomass (up to 26%) was observed following treatment with a rhizosphere isolate identified as Bacillus firmis GRS 123, and two phylloplane isolates Bacillus megaterium GPS 55 and Pseudomonas aeruginosa GPS 21. There was no correlation between the production of l-tryptophan-derived auxins and growth promotion by the test isolates. Actively growing cells and peat formulations of GRS 123 and GPS 55, and actively growing cells of GPS 21, significantly increased the plant growth and pod yield (up to 19%) in field. Rifampicin-resistant mutants of GRS 123 and GPS 21 colonized the ecto- and endorhizospheres of groundnut, respectively, up to 100 days after sowing (DAS), whereas GPS 55 was recovered from both the habitats at 100 DAS.
Conclusion: Seed bacterization with phylloplane isolates promoted groundnut growth indicating the possibility of isolating rhizosphere beneficial bacteria from different habitats.
Significance and Impact of the Study: Identification of phylloplane bacteria as effective plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) broadens the spectrum of PGPR available for field application.