Plant and Soil

, Volume 370, Issue 1–2, pp 485–495 | Cite as

Plant growth promoting rhizobacterium Proteus vulgaris JBLS202 stimulates the seedling growth of Chinese cabbage through indole emission

  • Sang-Mi Yu
  • Yong Hoon Lee
Regular Article


Backgrounds and aims

The functional role of volatile indole in interaction between rhizobacteria and plant remains unknown. In this study, we investigated the functional role of the volatile indole emitted by rhizobacterial strain Proteus vulgaris JBLS202 in plant growth promoting activity.


P. vulgaris strain JBLS202 was used to study the role of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) on growth stimulation of Chinese cabbage (cabbage) at seedling stage. SPME-GC/MS analysis employed to identify headspace VOCs emitted from the rhizobacterium. Synthetic indole was assayed at various concentrations for the growth stimulation of cabbage and the emission of indole from the bacterized cabbage seeds was identified.


P. vulgaris JBLS202 promoted the growth of cabbage via volatiles in a dose-dependent manner. VOC emission assay by SPME-GC/MS revealed that indole was a major headspace volatile compound emitted from the rhizobacterium. Moreover, the growth of cabbage was promoted significantly in the presence of 0.63 μg of synthetic indole. The vigor index and fresh weight of the seedlings were increased by 39.9 % and 32.6 %, respectively when the seeds of cabbage were bacterized with P. vulgaris JBLS202 cells (1 × 107 CFU/ml). The emission of indole from the bacterized seeds was demonstrated by SPME-GC/MS.


Results indicated that either synthetic or biological/bacterial indole could increase the growth of cabbage significantly. Though the molecular biological role of indole in plant growth promotion remains to be investigated, this is the first report on detailed interaction between bacterial indole and plants.


Indole Rhizobacterium Proteus vulgaris SPME-GC/MS Volatile organic compounds 



We gratefully acknowledge a grant from the Basic Research Laboratory Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2011–0020202). This research was also supported by the Basic Science Research Program (2010–0002677).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of BiotechnologyChonbuk National UniversityIksan-siRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Advanced Institute of Environment and Bioscience, and Plant Medical Research CenterChonbuk National UniversityJeonjuRepublic of Korea

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