Mechanisms of action of plant growth promoting bacteria

  • Oluwaseyi Samuel Olanrewaju
  • Bernard R. Glick
  • Olubukola Oluranti BabalolaEmail author


The idea of eliminating the use of fertilizers which are sometimes environmentally unsafe is slowly becoming a reality because of the emergence of microorganisms that can serve the same purpose or even do better. Depletion of soil nutrients through leaching into the waterways and causing contamination are some of the negative effects of these chemical fertilizers that prompted the need for suitable alternatives. This brings us to the idea of using microbes that can be developed for use as biological fertilizers (biofertilizers). They are environmentally friendly as they are natural living organisms. They increase crop yield and production and, in addition, in developing countries, they are less expensive compared to chemical fertilizers. These biofertilizers are typically called plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB). In addition to PGPB, some fungi have also been demonstrated to promote plant growth. Apart from improving crop yields, some biofertilizers also control various plant pathogens. The objective of worldwide sustainable agriculture is much more likely to be achieved through the widespread use of biofertilizers rather than chemically synthesized fertilizers. However, to realize this objective it is essential that the many mechanisms employed by PGPB first be thoroughly understood thereby allowing workers to fully harness the potentials of these microbes. The present state of our knowledge regarding the fundamental mechanisms employed by PGPB is discussed herein.


Biocontrol Biofertilizer Bioremediation Phytohormones Siderophore Sustainable agriculture 



North-West University is gratefully acknowledged for school bursary to OOS. OOB would like to thank the National Research Foundation, South Africa for a grant (Ref: UID81192) that has supported research in her laboratory.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest whatsoever from the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oluwaseyi Samuel Olanrewaju
    • 1
  • Bernard R. Glick
    • 2
  • Olubukola Oluranti Babalola
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Food Security and Safety Niche Area, Faculty of Agriculture, Science and TechnologyNorth-West UniversityMmabatho, MafikengSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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