, Volume 312, Issue 1-2, pp 15-23

Effects of Azospirillum brasilense indole-3-acetic acid production on inoculated wheat plants

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The production of phytohormones by plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria is considered to be an important mechanism by which these bacteria promote plant growth. In this study the importance of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) produced by Azospirillum brasilense Sp245 in the observed plant growth stimulation was investigated by using Sp245 strains genetically modified in IAA production. Firstly wild-type A. brasilense Sp245 and an ipdC knock-out mutant which produces only 10% of wild-type IAA levels (Vande Broek et al., J Bacteriol 181:1338–1342, 1999) were compared in a greenhouse inoculation experiment for a number of plant parameters, thereby clearly demonstrating the IAA effect in plant growth promotion. Secondly, the question was addressed whether altering expression of the ipdC gene, encoding the key enzyme for IAA biosynthesis in A. brasilense, could also contribute to plant growth promotion. For that purpose, the endogenous promoter of the ipdC gene was replaced by either a constitutive or a plant-inducible promoter and both constructs were introduced into the wild-type strain. Based on a greenhouse inoculation experiment it was found that the introduction of these recombinant ipdC constructs could further improve the plant-growth promoting effect of A. brasilense. These data support the possibility of constructing Azospirillum strains with better performance in plant growth promotion.

Responsible Editor: Petra Marschner.