Benefits from the application of plant growth-promoting bacteria in agriculture largely depend on the complex interactions between several factors including the nature of fertilizers selected. This study was designed to determine the fine tuning between the inoculated bacteria and different fertilizers and their effect on the growth of lettuce plants (Lactuca sativa L.). Plant growth promotion by a novel species of the genus Azospirillum, namely A. rugosum IMMIB AFH-6, was tested by biochemical, bioassay, and greenhouse studies. The treatments used in the greenhouse study were; unfertilized control (Blank), half recommended dose of chemical fertilizer (1/2CF), full recommended dose of chemical fertilizer (1CF), pig manure fertilizer (PMF), pig manure fertilizer + half recommended dose of chemical fertilizer (PMF + 1/2CF), and pig manure fertilizer + full recommended dose of chemical fertilizer (PMF + 1CF). All these treatments when inoculated with A. rugosum IMMIB AFH-6 inoculation were, respectively, In-Blank, In-1/2CF, In-1CF, In-PMF, In-PMF + 1/2CF, and In-PMF + 1CF. Significant increase in plant biomass and shoot N, P, Ca, and Fe was shown in the In-Blank treatment. Plant growth in soil amended with PMF and A. rugosum IMMIB AFH-6 was significantly lower than in soil treated with the chemical fertilizer, but inoculation combined with chemical fertilizer significantly elevated the plant biomass. The In-PMF + 1/2CF treatment showed the highest yield. A. rugosum IMMIB AFH-6 facilitated the accumulation of trace minerals in higher concentrations when PMF was combined with 1CF. To examine the benefits of inoculation by A. rugosum IMMIB AFH-6, we have proposed a new type of data analysis which considers both biomass and nutrient content of plants. This new type of analysis has shown the importance of the mineral content of plant.
AzospirillumPlant growth promotion Chemical fertilizer Organic fertilizer N2 fixation Mineral accumulation
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This research work was supported by grants from the National Science Council of Taiwan, R.O.C. and Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, Taiwan, R.O.C. The authors thank the editor and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions which, to a great extent, contributed to the improvement and completeness of this paper.
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