• Azospirillum sp.;
  • nitrogen fertilization;
  • Oryza sativa L.;
  • plant growth promotion;
  • rice plant


Twenty rice cultivars, including three genetically-distinct groups (japonica, indica-1, and indica-2), were evaluated for their response to inoculation with Azospirillum sp. strain B510 in paddy fields with standard nitrogen (SN) and low nitrogen (LN) fertilization. In the SN field, the tiller numbers in most indica-2 cultivars, 37 days after transplanting (DAT), were significantly increased by the B510 inoculation, whereas those in 4 japonica cultivars were significantly decreased. A similar growth response was observed in the LN field, although the impacts of the B510 inoculation were more varied than in the SN field. At 58 DAT, the tiller numbers in most cultivars were lower or unaffected by the B510 inoculation under both SN and LN conditions, except that the tiller number of the Nipponbare cultivar, which is classified as japonica, was significantly higher in the LN field only. These results suggest that the effects of inoculation with Azospirillum sp. strain B510 on the growth of rice plants, especially on tiller numbers at the early growth stage, vary depending on the rice genotype, as well as nitrogen level. Therefore, the plant genotypes, growth stages, and fertilization managements must be considered when a plant-associated bacterium is evaluated for beneficial effects under field conditions.