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Forest soil community responses to plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria and spruce seedlings

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The influence of plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and spruce seedlings on the composition and activity of forest soil microbial communities was studied in a microcosm experiment in which sterile, sand-filled 25mm×150mm glass tubes were treated with a forest soil suspension containing Bacillus or Pseudomonas PGPR and 2-week-old spruce seedlings. Eighteen weeks after treatments were established, bacterial, actinomycete and fungal population sizes were determined by dilution plating, as were seedling dry weights and soil carbon substrate utilization profiles using Biolog plates. PGPR inoculation had little influence on the population sizes of actinomycetes or fungi. However, significant effects were detected on the total bacterial population size, primarily in microcosms without seedlings. Euclidean distances between treatments plotted on two dimensions by multidimensional scaling showed that the introduction of PGPR strains changed the type of microbial community, particularly when inoculated into soil without seedlings. Significant changes were also detected in one soil type in the presence of seedlings. Our results suggest that the type of soil community and the presence of seedlings are significant factors influencing the responses of soil communities to bacterial inoculation, and that for some soil communities, the presence of seedlings may mitigate perturbations caused by the introduction of PGPR.

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Received: 24 February 1997

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Shishido, M., Chanway, C. Forest soil community responses to plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria and spruce seedlings. Biol Fertil Soils 26, 179–186 (1998).

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