Effect of Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria and Culture Filtrate of Sclerotium rolfsii on Phenolic and Salicylic Acid Contents in Chickpea (Cicer arietinum)
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Two plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), viz., Pseudomonas fluorescens strain Pf4 and P. aeruginosa strain Pag, protected chickpea (Cicer arietinum) plants from Sclerotium rolfsii infection when applied singly or in combination as seed treatment. Pag gave the best protection to the seedlings, applied either singly (mortality 16%) or in combination with Pf4 (mortality 17%) compared with 44% and 24% mortality in control and Pf4 treatment, respectively. The two PGPR strains induced the synthesis of specific phenolic acids, salicylic acid (SA), as well as total phenolics at different growth stages of chickpea seedlings with varied amount. The maximum amount of total phenolics was recorded in all the aerial parts of 4-week-old plants. Gallic, ferulic, chlorogenic, and cinnamic acids were the major phenolic acids detected in high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) analysis. Induction of such phenolic acids in the seedlings was observed up to 6 weeks in comparison with control. Salicylic acid (SA) was induced frequently during the first 3 weeks of growth only. Between the two strains, Pag was more effective in inducing phenolic acid synthesis applied either singly or in combination with strain Pf4 during the entire 6 weeks of growth of chickpea. In the presence of a culture filtrate of S. rolfsii, the two Pseudomonas strains induced more phenolic acids in treated than in non-treated and control plants. The occurrence of salicylic acid was frequent in the first 24 h, but infrequent at 48 and 96 h. Foliar spray of Pseudomonas strains also enhanced the phenolic acid content as well as total phenolics within 24 h of application. Gallic, chlorogenic, and cinnamic acids were consistently discerned in the treated leaves, whereas SA was absent even up to 96 h of application. Resistance in chickpea plants by Pseudomonas strains through induction of phenolic compounds as well as induced systemic resistance via SA-dependent pathway was evident.
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