, Volume 169, Issue 1, pp 123-133
Date: 16 Nov 2012

Evaluation for Rock Phosphate Solubilization in Fermentation and Soil–Plant System Using A Stress-Tolerant Phosphate-Solubilizing Aspergillus niger WHAK1

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A strain WHAK1, identified as Aspergillus niger, was isolated from Yichang phosphate mines in Hubei province of China. The fungus developed a phosphate solubilization zone on modified National Botanical Research Institute’s phosphate growth (NBRIP) agar medium, supplemented with tricalcium phosphate. The fungus was applied in a repeated-batch fermentation process in order to test its effect on solubilization of rock phosphate (RP). The results showed that A. niger WHAK1 could effectively solubilize RP in NBRIP liquid medium and released soluble phosphate in the broth, which can be illustrated by the observation of scanning electron microscope, energy-dispersive X-ray microanalysis, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Acidification of the broth seemed to be the major mechanism for RP solubilization by the fungus. Indeed, multiple organic acids (mainly gluconic acid) were detected in the broth by high-performance liquid chromatography analysis. These organic acids caused a significant drop of pH and an obvious rise of titratable acidity in the broth. The fungus also exhibited high levels of tolerance against temperature, pH, salinity, and desiccation stresses, although a significant decline in the fungal growth and release of soluble phosphate was marked under increasing intensity of stress parameters. Further, the fungus was introduced into the soil supplemented with RP to analyze its effect on plant growth and phosphate uptake of wheat plants. The result revealed that inoculation of A. niger WHAK1 significantly increased the growth and phosphate uptake of wheat plants in the RP-amended soil compared to the control soil.