EXPLORING THE PROBIOTIC AND PLANT GROWTH PROMOTINGPOTENTIAL OF ENDOPHYTIC BACTERIA ISOLATED FROM THEVEGETABLE CROP BHENDI ABELMOSCHUS ESCULENTUSD. Baskaran, S. Benazir Begum, J. Jenifer Annis Christy, B. R. Harisma and R.M. Murugappan
Endophytes are microbes that reside within the plant tissues and facilitate the growth of the host plant. Inthe present study, occurrence of endophytic bacteria in the most common vegetable plant of India, Bhendi(Abelmoschus esculentus) was screened and analysed for its plant growth promoting (PGP) potential. Presenceof a rod shaped bacterium within the tissues of the host plant was observed. The isolate was identified asBacillus firmus by its biochemical profile. Phosphate solubilization and IAA production by the isolate at 60h of incubation was found to be 37.3 ïg mlâ1 and 39.47 ïg mlâ1 respectively. B. firmus was found to producetrihydroxamate type siderophore with hexadentate nature. The isolate exhibited extracellular pectinolytic,proteolytic, cellulolytic, chitinolytic enzyme activity. Further, the isolate exhibited probiotic properties suchas tolerance to acid (pH2), bile salt (2%), gastric juice, auto-aggregation potential, antibiotic resistance andthe absence of haemolytic activity. Seed biopriming and scanning electron microscope (SEM) imagingconfirmed the endophytic and plant growth promoting potential of B. firmus. The results of this studyillustrate the possible utilization of the endophytic bacterium B. firmus as a bioinoculant for plant growthpromotion.