Assessment of the plant growth promotion abilities of six bacterial isolates using Zea mays as indicator plant

Ana P. G. C. Marques, Carlos Pires, Helena Moreira, António O. S. S. Rangel, Paula M. L. Castro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

243 Citations (Scopus)


Zea mays, one of the most important cereals worldwide, is a plant not only with food and energy value, but also with phytoremediation potential. The use of plant growth promoting (PGP) rhizobacteria may constitute a biological alternative to increase crop yield and plant resistance to degraded environments. In search for PGP rhizobacteria strains, 6 bacterial isolates were isolated from a metal contaminated site, screened in vitro for their PGP characteristics and their effects on the growth of Z. mays were assessed. Isolates were identified as 3A10T, ECP37T, corresponding to Chryseobacterium palustre and Chryseobacterium humi, and 1ZP4, EC15, EC30 and 1C2, corresponding to strains within the genera Sphingobacterium, Bacillus, Achromobacter, and Ralstonia, respectively. All the bacterial isolates were shown to produce indole acetic acid, hydrogen cyanide and ammonia when tested in vitro for their plant growth promoting abilities, but only isolates 1C2, 1ZP4 and ECP37T have shown siderophore production. Their further application in a greenhouse experiment using Z. mays indicated that plant traits such as root and shoot elongation and biomass production, and nutrient status, namely N and P levels, were influenced by the inoculation, with plants inoculated with 1C2 generally outperforming the other treatments. Two other bacterial isolates, 1ZP4 and ECP37T also led to increased plant growth in the greenhouse. These 3 species, corresponding to strains within the genera Ralstonia (1C2), Sphingobacterium (1ZP4), and to a strain identified as C. humi (ECP37T) can thus be potential agents to increase crop yield in maize plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1229-1235
Number of pages7
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


  • Ammonia
  • HCN
  • IAA
  • P and N accumulation
  • PGPR
  • Plant biomass production
  • Plant elongation
  • Siderophores
  • Zea mays


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