Antarctic Pseudomonas spp. promote wheat germination and growth at low temperatures

Abstract

The development of cold-active biofertilizers and biopesticides could help improve sustainable agriculture in mountainous regions. With this aim, both psychrophilic and psychrotolerant microorganisms have been prospected in cold regions around the world and tested for their plant-growth promoting (PGP) effects. Interestingly, very little is known about the PGP effects of polar microorganisms in commercial crops. This study aimed at isolating cold-active plant-growth promoting Pseudomonas spp. from Antarctic soils and testing their PGP effects, both in vitro and on wheat (Triticum aestivum). Twenty-five Pseudomonas spp. strains isolated from Antarctic soils at Greenwich Island (South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula) were tested. The isolates grew well at temperatures ranging from 4 to 30 °C and were therefore considered as eury-psychrophiles. The isolates solubilized tri-calcium phosphate at 8 and 16 °C in the presence of different sugars as sole carbon sources. Besides producing indole-acetic acid, siderophores and hydrogen cyanide, several isolates inhibited growth of three plant pathogenic fungi (Fusarium oxysporum, Pythium ultimum and Phytophtora infestans) by means of both soluble- and volatile-secondary metabolites. Bacterization of T. aestivum seeds with selected isolates significantly enhanced root elongation. Moreover, when grown in sterile soil and in a temperature-controlled growth chamber at 14 ± 1 °C, inoculated T. aestivum seedlings showed a significant increase in their root- and shoot-lengths compared to untreated controls. Overall, the results suggest that some of these Antarctic Pseudomonas spp. isolates could act as cold-active biofertilizers.

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Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Ing. Esteban Falconí (INIAP Santa Catalina, Ecuador) for kindly supplying the wheat seeds. We also thank Kari Carson for critical reading of the manuscript. LAY acknowledges Proyecto Prometeo of the National Secretary of Science, Technology and Innovation of Ecuador (SENESCYT). This project was partially financed by SENESCYT and Ecuadorian Antarctic Institute (INAE) and was conducted under Genetic Resource Access Contract No MAE-DNB-CM-2017-0059.

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Correspondence to Luis Andrés Yarzábal.

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Yarzábal, L.A., Monserrate, L., Buela, L. et al. Antarctic Pseudomonas spp. promote wheat germination and growth at low temperatures. Polar Biol 41, 2343–2354 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00300-018-2374-6

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Keywords

  • Biofertilizers
  • Plant-growth promoting bacteria
  • Pseudomonas
  • Psychrotolerant
  • Antarctica