Role of Phosphate-Solubilizing Bacteria in Legume Improvement

  • Almas ZaidiEmail author
  • Mohammad Saghir Khan
  • Asfa Rizvi
  • Saima Saif
  • Bilal Ahmad
  • Mohd. Shahid


Heterogeneously distributed microbial communities belonging to different genera enhance the growth and development of many crop plants including legumes. Among the various microbial populations inhabiting different habitats, the heterotrophic organisms endowed with natural phosphate-solubilizing activity and quite often called as phosphate-solubilizing microorganisms (PSM) supply one of the major plant nutrients, phosphorus, to plants and facilitate the growth of legumes. Phosphate-solubilizing microorganisms convert the complex or locked insoluble phosphorus to soluble phosphates by various mechanisms such as acidification, chelation, exchange reactions and polymeric substances formation and make it available to plants. Apart from supplying P to legumes, PSM also promote the growth of legumes by other mechanisms. Therefore, the widespread use of PSM in legume production helps both to reduce the spiralling cost of phosphatic fertilizers and to make soil free from chemical hazards. Considering these, the application of PSM endowed with multiple growth-promoting activities holds greater promise for increasing the productivity of legumes. Symbiotic/associative nitrogen-fixing bacteria are yet another important group of beneficial microbiota which is known to supply exclusively nitrogen to legumes, but they can also promote legume growth by other direct or indirect mechanisms. The co-inoculation of functionally different microflora such as N2-fixers, phosphate solubilizers and mycorrhizal fungi has, however, been found more effective than single inoculation of either organism for legume plants under nutrient-deficient soils. Basic and advance aspect of phosphate solubilization, mechanism of plant growth promotion and impact of single or synergistic association of phosphate solubilizers with other beneficial microflora on legumes growing in different regions are reviewed and discussed. The literatures surveyed in this chapter are likely to help better understand the functional role of PSM in sustainable production of legumes while reducing dependence on use of phosphatic fertilizers in legume production systems.


Phosphate-solubilizing microorganisms Legumes Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi Biofertilizers ACC deaminase Siderophores 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Almas Zaidi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mohammad Saghir Khan
    • 1
  • Asfa Rizvi
    • 1
  • Saima Saif
    • 1
  • Bilal Ahmad
    • 1
  • Mohd. Shahid
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural Microbiology, Faculty of Agricultural SciencesAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarhIndia

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