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A strain of Bacillus subtilis stimulates sunflower growth (Helianthus annuus L.) temporarily

López-Valdez, F., Fernández-Luqueño, F., Ceballos-Ramírez, J.M., Marsch, R., Olalde-Portugal, V., Dendooven, L.
Scientia horticulturae 2011 v.128 no.4 pp. 499-505
Bacillus subtilis, Helianthus annuus, carbon dioxide, cultivars, emissions, greenhouses, nitrogen content, nitrous oxide, plant growth, planting seed, roots, soil bacteria, soil properties, sunflower seed, urea
Preliminary studies showed that a Bacillus subtilis strain stimulates plant growth. We investigated how inoculating seeds of a sunflower cultivar (Helianthus annuus L.) with this strain stimulated plant growth, soil properties and emissions of greenhouse gasses, i.e. carbon dioxide (CO₂) and nitrous oxide (N₂O), when cultivated in a greenhouse. Unfertilized sunflowers or fertilized with urea served as controls. After one month, root length and fresh and dry root weight of the sunflower was significantly higher in the bacteria amended plant than in the urea and unfertilized plants. However, at harvest, no positive effect was observed. The number of seeds per plant and seed weight was not significantly different between the treatments, but total plant N was significantly higher in urea-amended plants than in unfertilized plants. The CO₂ production rate was not affected by treatment, but the N₂O emission rate was significantly higher in soil amended with urea plus bacteria soil compared to the unfertilized treatments. It was found that the B. subtilis strain used in this study had a positive, but only temporarily effect on growth of the sunflower cultivar used.