, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 175-185
Date: 16 Jun 2006

Azospirillum sp. Promotes Root Hair Development in Tomato Plants through a Mechanism that Involves Ethylene

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Tomato seeds were inoculated with the plant growth–promoting rhizobacteria Azospirillum brasilense FT326, and changes in parameters associated with plant growth were evaluated 15 days after inoculation. Azospirilla were localized on roots and within xylematic tissue. An increase in shoot and root fresh weight, main root hair length, and root surface indicated that inoculation with A. brasilense FT 326 resulted in plant growth improvement. The levels of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and ethylene, two of the phytohormones related to plant growth, were higher in inoculated plants. Exogenously supplied ethylene mimicked the effect of inoculation, and the addition of an inhibitor of its synthesis or of its physiological activity completely blocked A. brasilense growth promotion. Based on our results, we propose that the process of growth promotion triggered by A. brasilense inoculation involves a signaling pathway that has ethylene as a central, positive regulator.