Reis, Francisca; Pereira, Ana Joao; Tavares, Rui M.; Baptista, Paula; Lino-Neto, Teresa

Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are in increasing demand due to their role in promoting sustainable practices, not only in agriculture but also in forestry. Keeping in mind the future application of PGPR for increasing cork oak sustainability, the aim of this study was to find cork oak PGPR isolates with increased nutrient solubilisation traits, able to promote root morphological changes and/or antagonize cork oak bark phytopathogens. Soils from three cork oak forests with distinct bioclimates (humid, semi-humid and semi-arid) were used for isolating bacteria. From the 7634 colony-forming units, 323 bacterial isolates were biochemically assayed for PGPR traits (siderophores production, phosphate solubilizing and organic acids production), and 51 were found to display all these traits. These PGPR were able to induce root morphological changes on Arabidopsis thaliana, like suppression of primary root growth, increase of lateral roots or root hairs formation. However, the most proficient PGPR displayed specific ability in changing a single root morphological trait. This ability was related not only to bacterial genotype, but also with the environment where bacteria thrived and isolation temperature. Bacteria from semi-arid environments (mainly Bacillus megaterium isolates) could hold a promising tool to enhance plant development. Other isolates (Serratia quinivorens or B. cereus) could be further explored for biocontrol purposes.

Doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9091973

Cited as: Reis, Francisca, Ana J. Pereira, Rui M. Tavares, Paula Baptista, and Teresa Lino-Neto (2021) “Cork Oak Forests Soil Bacteria: Potential for Sustainable Agroforest Production” Microorganisms 9, no. 9: 1973.