Effects of Azospirillum brasilense on root morphology of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) under different water regimes
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The effects of inoculation with Azospirillum brasilense Cd on root morphology and growth of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) were studied under different growth systems and water regimes. The root systems were evaluated by image analysis. In a PVC-tube growth system, inoculation with A. brasilense at 107 colony forming units (CFU) ml–1 increased root length, root projection area, specific root length (m g–1) and specific root area (cm2 g–1), as compared with non-inoculated controls, resulting in root systems with longer and thinner roots. Water stress induced similar root responses to those observed after inoculation with A. brasilense. No increase in plant biomass was observed in inoculated plants, suggesting that under the tested growth conditions, a relatively larger amount of resources is required for the maintenance of the thinner roots. In water-stressed potted plants, the effect of A. brasilense on tap root length was inoculum-concentration dependent. At 107 CFU ml–1 this effect was significant as compared to non-inoculated controls. In a pouch system without water stress, inoculation with A. brasilense at a concentration of 105–107 CFU ml–1 2 days after germination resulted initially (2 days after inoculation) in an increase in root length (95%) and root fresh weight (66%), but reduced root diameter (20%), compared to controls. At this early stage of growth the distribution of root length among the different root diameter classes changed: the thinner-root classes had the largest proportion of longer roots.
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