Biology and Fertility of Soils

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 17–26

Alleviation of drought stress effects in sunflower seedlings by the exopolysaccharides producing Pseudomonas putida strain GAP-P45


  • V. Sandhya
    • Central Research Institute for Dry land Agriculture
  • Ali SK. Z.
    • Central Research Institute for Dry land Agriculture
    • Central Research Institute for Dry land Agriculture
  • Gopal Reddy
    • Department of MicrobiologyOsmania University
  • B. Venkateswarlu
    • Central Research Institute for Dry land Agriculture
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00374-009-0401-z

Cite this article as:
Sandhya, V., SK. Z., A., Grover, M. et al. Biol Fertil Soils (2009) 46: 17. doi:10.1007/s00374-009-0401-z


Production of exopolysaccharides (EPS) can be used as a criteria for the isolation of stress tolerant microorganisms. In the present study, EPS-producing fluorescent pseudomonads were isolated from alfisols, vertisols, inseptisols, oxisols, and aridisols of different semiarid millet growing regions of India and were screened in vitro for drought tolerance in trypticase soy broth supplemented with different concentrations of polyethylene glycol (PEG6000). Out of the total 81 isolates, 26 could tolerate maximum level of stress (−0.73 MPa) and were monitored for the amount of EPS produced under maximum level of water stress. The strain GAP-P45, isolated from alfisol of sunflower rhizosphere, showed the highest level of EPS production under water stress conditions, was identified as Pseudomonas putida on the basis of 16S rDNA sequence analysis, and was used as seed treatment to study its effect in alleviating drought stress effects in sunflower seedlings. Inoculation of Pseudomonas sp. strain GAP-P45 increased the survival, plant biomass, and root adhering soil/root tissue ratio of sunflower seedlings subjected to drought stress. The inoculated bacteria could efficiently colonize the root adhering soil and rhizoplane and increase the percentage of stable soil aggregates. Scanning electron microscope studies showed the formation of biofilm of inoculated bacteria on the root surface and this, along with a better soil structure, might have protected the plants from the water stress.


Pseudomonas putida GAP-P45ExopolysaccharideDrought stressSoil aggregate stabilityBiofilm

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© Springer-Verlag 2009