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Enhanced Soybean Plant Growth Resulting from Coinoculation of Bacillus Strains with Bradyrhizobium japonicum

Bai, Yuming, Zhou, Xiaomin, Smith, Donald L.
Crop science 2003 v.43 no.5 pp. 1774-1781
Bradyrhizobium japonicum, Glycine max, biomass, cultivars, field experimentation, grain yield, greenhouses, growing season, nitrogen content, nitrogen fixation, nodulation, plant growth, plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, production technology, rhizosphere, shoots, soybeans, temperature
Nodulation and subsequent nitrogen fixation by soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] plants are inhibited by low root zone temperatures (RZTs). Plant growth promoting bacteria can help overcome these deleterious effects. Three Bacillus strains, B. subtilis NEB4 and NEB5 and B. thuringiensis NEB17, were isolated from inside the nodules of vigorous field-grown soybean plants in 1998, and were shown to have plant growth promoting activity on pouch-grown soybean plants under greenhouse conditions. To test their ability to improve soybean nodulation and growth under low RZTs, these strains were coinoculated onto soybean plants, with Bradyrhizobium japonicum, under greenhouse conditions at RZTs of 25, 17, and 15°C, and under field conditions in a short growing season area. In all cases, the experiments were conducted with soybean cultivar OAC Bayfield. All the three Bacillus strains enhanced soybean nodulation and growth in greenhouse and field experiments. Coinoculation with NEB17 provided the largest and most consistent increases in nodule number, nodule weight, shoot weight, root weight, total biomass, total nitrogen, and grain yield. The other two strains provided positive responses in only 1 of the 2 yr of field-testing. Thus, B. thuringiensis NEB17 would be suitable for use as a plant growth promoting bacterial strain in soybean production systems in short growing season regions.