STUDIES ON PLANT GROWTH-PROMOTING RHIZOBACTERIA ISOLATED FROM CHOBA RIVERS STATE NIGERIAE. C. WOKOMA
Forty-eight strains of Pseudomonas putida, P. fluorescens, P. aeruginosa and Bacillus were isolated from the rhizosphere, root washings, and root segments of corn, tomato cassava, fluted pumpkin, plantain, banana waterleaf, and pawpaw, grown in Choba, Rivers State, Nigeria. Seventeen strains were identified as P. putida, eight as P. fluorescens, 17 as P. aeruginosa and six as Bacillus. Fourteen strains were selected and screened for their biocontrol potential by evaluating their ability to inhibit in vitro growth of Botryodiplodia theobromae, a common soil borne pathogen attacking several field crops in the region. Three strains of P. putida and three of P. aentginosa were shown to have antifungal activity against B. theobromae by inhibiting biomass (mycelium dry weight) of the fungus. Analysis of results showed that the strains were significantly (p=0.05) more antagonistic than a known biocontrol strain of P: put hin (W4P5) but were comparable in antifungal activity to P. fluorescens Pf-5, another known biocontrol agent. The plant growth promoting activity of test bacterial strains was assessed by bacterizing corn seeds before planting in potted soil and potted builders' sand. Bacterization of corn seeds improved emergence by 72 To, three days after planting, and significantly enhanced seedling height five days after planting. These findings establish the biocontrol potential and plant growth-promoting ability of local strains of Pseudomonas.
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