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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Organic acid production in vitro and plant growth promotion in maize under controlled environment by phosphate-solubilizing fluorescent Pseudomonas

Pratibha Vyas and Arvind Gulati*

Author Affiliations

Plant Pathology and Microbiology Laboratory, Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR), P.O. Box No. 6, Palampur (H.P.)-176 061, India

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BMC Microbiology 2009, 9:174  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-9-174

Published: 22 August 2009

Abstract

Background

Phosphorus deficiency is a major constraint to crop production due to rapid binding of the applied phosphorus into fixed forms not available to the plants. Microbial solubilization of inorganic phosphates has been attributed mainly to the production of organic acids. Phosphate-solubilizing microorganisms enhance plant growth under conditions of poor phosphorus availability by solubilizing insoluble phosphates in the soil. This paper describes the production of organic acids during inorganic phosphate solubilization and influence on plant growth as a function of phosphate solubilization by fluorescent Pseudomonas.

Results

Nineteen phosphate-solubilizing fluorescent Pseudomonas strains of P. fluorescens, P. poae, P. trivialis, and Pseudomonas spp. produced gluconic acid, oxalic acid, 2-ketogluconic acid, lactic acid, succinic acid, formic acid, citric acid and malic acid in the culture filtrates during the solubilization of tricalcium phosphate, Mussoorie rock phosphate, Udaipur rock phosphate and North Carolina rock phosphate. The strains differed quantitatively and qualitatively in the production of organic acids during solubilization of phosphate substrates. Cluster analysis based on organic acid profiling revealed inter-species and intra-species variation in organic acids produced by Pseudomonas strains. The phosphate-solubilizing bacterial treatments P. trivialis BIHB 745, P. trivialis BIHB 747, Pseudomonas sp. BIHB 756 and P. poae BIHB 808 resulted in significantly higher or statistically at par growth and total N, P and K content over single super phosphate treatment in maize. These treatments also significantly affected pH, organic matter, and N, P, and K content of the soil.

Conclusion

The results implied that organic acid production by Pseudomonas strains is independent of their genetic relatedness and each strain has its own ability of producing organic acids during the solubilization of inorganic phosphates. Significant difference in plant growth promotion by efficient phosphate-solubilizing Pseudomonas strains point at the need for selecting potential strains in plant growth promotion experiments in conjunction with various phosphate substrates for their targeted application as bioinoculants.