Isolation of novel plant-beneficial soil bacteria to enhance legume crop productivity
Plant roots support the growth of a variety of soil microorganisms that have beneficial or detrimental effects on plant growth. As producers move to earlier seeding into cool wet soils, problems with pea and lentil seedling decay (damping off) and root rot are increasing. Attempts to control Pythium and Fusarium spp. with seed coatings containing the fungicides Captan or Thiram are being used however, the activity of these compounds is limited to approximately 2-3 weeks after planting. The objective of this project is to isolate microorganisms with the ability to be competitive in the rhizosphere of plants and biologically control root diseases of legumes. Over six hundred isolates were obtained from the rhizosphere of chickpea, lentil and pea from commercial farms in Rosetown and North Battleford, Saskatchewan. Preliminary characterization of the isolates indicates that the collection consists of 16 actinomycetes, 4 yeasts and over 580 bacteria. Eighty percent of the isolates produced siderophores and the ability to inhibit the growth of Rhizoctonia and Pythium was observed in 11.6% and 7.5% of the isolates, respectively. Additional characterization of the isolates to be studied will be plant growth promotion, root colonization, growth at low temperature and identification.
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