Effect of plant growth-promoting Streptomyces sp. on growth promotion and grain yield in chickpea (Cicer arietinum L)
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The physiological and molecular responses of six strains of Streptomyces sp. (CAI-13, CAI-85, CAI-93, CAI-140, CAI-155 and KAI-180), with their proven potential for plant growth-promotion (PGP) in rice were studied to understand the mechanisms causing the beneficial effects. In this investigation, those six strains were evaluated for their PGP capabilities in chickpea in the 2012–13 and 2013–14 post-rainy seasons. All of the Streptomyces sp. strains exhibited enhanced nodule number, nodule weight, root weight and shoot weight at 30 days after sowing (DAS) and pod number, pod weight, leaf area, leaf weight and stem weight at 60 DAS in both seasons over the un-inoculated control. At chickpea crop maturity, the Streptomyces strains had enhanced stover yield, grain yield, total dry matter, pod weight, seed number and seed weight in both seasons over the uninoculated control. In the rhizosphere, at crop maturity, the Streptomyces strains also significantly enhanced soil biological and mineral nutrient traits including microbial biomass carbon, dehydrogenase activity, total nitrogen, available phosphorous and organic carbon in both seasons over the un-inoculated control. Of the six strains of Streptomyces sp., CAI-85, CAI-93 and KAI-180 were found superior to CAI-155, CAI-140 and CAI-13, in terms of their effects on root and shoot development, nodule formation and crop productivity. Scanning electron microscopy had revealed the success in colonization of the chickpea roots by all six strains. This investigation further confirms the broad-spectrum of PGP activities by the selected Streptomyces sp.