Main content area

Bacillus firmus (SW5) augments salt tolerance in soybean (Glycine max L.) by modulating root system architecture, antioxidant defense systems and stress-responsive genes expression

El-Esawi, Mohamed A., Alaraidh, Ibrahim A., Alsahli, Abdulaziz A., Alamri, Saud A., Ali, Hayssam M., Alayafi, Aisha A.
Plant physiology and biochemistry 2018 v.132 pp. 375-384
2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl, Bacillus firmus, Glycine max, adverse effects, antioxidant activity, betaine, biomass production, catalase, chlorophyll, environmental factors, enzyme activity, flavonoids, gas exchange, genes, hydrogen peroxide, inhibitory concentration 50, malondialdehyde, nutrient uptake, peroxidase, photosynthesis, plant growth, plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, proline, root systems, salinity, salt stress, salt tolerance, sodium chloride, soil salinity, soybeans, stomatal conductance, superoxide dismutase
Soil salinity is an adverse abiotic factor which reduces plant growth, yield and quality. Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) have a great potential to enhance growth and alleviate saline stress effects without harming the environment via regulating physiological and molecular processes in plants. This study aimed at investigating Bacillus firmus SW5 effects on the performance of soybean (Glycine max L.) subjected to salt stress (0, 40 and 80 mM NaCl). Salinity stress mitigated the growth and biomass yield, root architecture traits, nutrient acquisition, chlorophyll level, transpiration rate (E), photosynthesis rate (Pn), stomatal conductance (gs), soluble proteins content, soluble sugars content and total phenolics and flavonoid contents of soybean plants. High salinity augmented the levels of osmolytes (glycine betaine and proline), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), malondialdehyde (MDA) and the activities of antioxidant enzymes (APX, CAT, SOD and POD) in soybean plants. High salinity also induced the expression of antioxidant enzyme-encoding genes (APX, CAT, POD, Fe-SOD) and genes conferring tolerance to salinity (GmVSP, GmPHD2, GmbZIP62, GmWRKY54, GmOLPb, CHS) in soybean plants. On the other hand, inoculation of NaCl-stressed soybean plants with Bacillus firmus SW5 promoted the growth and biomass yield, chlorophyll synthesis, nutrient uptake, gas exchange parameters, osmolytes levels, total phenolic and flavonoid contents, and antioxidant enzymes activities, in comparison with the plants treated with NaCl alone. Bacillus firmus SW5 inoculation also significantly reduced the IC50 values for both DPPH and β-carotene-linoleic acid assays and indicated higher antioxidant activities in salt-stressed plants. Furthermore, contents of H2O2 and MDA were alleviated in salinity-stressed soybean plants inoculated with Bacillus firmus SW5, in comparison with those in plants exposed to NaCl alone. The antioxidant enzyme-encoding genes and stress-related genes exhibited the highest expression levels in soybean plants inoculated with Bacillus firmus SW5 and treated with 80 mM NaCl. Taken together, our results demonstrate the crucial role of Bacillus firmus SW5 in ameliorating the adverse effects of high salinity on soybean growth and performance via altering the root system architecture and inducing the antioxidant defense systems and stress-responsive genes expression.