Drought-Tolerant Phosphorus-Solubilizing Microbes: Biodiversity and Biotechnological Applications for Alleviation of Drought Stress in Plants

  • Divjot Kour
  • Kusam Lata Rana
  • Ajar Nath YadavEmail author
  • Neelam Yadav
  • Vinod Kumar
  • Amit Kumar
  • R. Z. Sayyed
  • Abd El-Latif Hesham
  • Harcharan Singh Dhaliwal
  • Anil Kumar Saxena
Part of the Microorganisms for Sustainability book series (MICRO, volume 12)


Drought is one of the major abiotic stresses accepted as the main constraint for loss of the crop yield worldwide. Further, problems are created by nutrient limitations particularly low phosphorus (P). Soils though have higher concentration of total phosphorus but are actually deficient in available orthophosphate due to which modern agricultural systems are highly dependent on chemical fertilizers. These chemical fertilizers are neither eco-friendly nor economically feasible and sustainable. Biotechnology offers a number of sustainable solutions to mitigate these problems by using plant growth-promoting (PGP) microbes. The PGP microbes colonize the rhizospheric region, or they may be endophytic or epiphytic and are beneficial for plant growth and adaptation to abiotic stresses. These microbes help the crops to tolerate drought conditions by different mechanisms including the production of exopolysaccharide (EPS), various phytohormones, 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) deaminase, and a number of volatile compounds, enhancement of nutrient uptake, induction of the accumulation of osmolytes and antioxidants, upregulation or downregulation of the stress-responsive genes, or bringing about of alterations in root morphology. Inoculating plants with PGP microbes can increase tolerance against abiotic stresses such as drought, salinity, and metal toxicity. Systematic identification of bacterial strains providing cross-protection against multiple stressors would be highly valuable for agricultural production in changing environmental conditions. Among the PGP microbes, P-solubilizing microbes play an important role in plant growth and soil health, which belong to diverse genera such as Arthrobacter, Azospirillum, Azotobacter, Bacillus, Burkholderia, Enterobacter, Klebsiella, Lysinibacillus, Paenibacillus, Pseudomonas, Serratia, and Streptomyces. The present chapter deals with biodiversity of P-solubilizing drought-tolerant microbes, mechanisms of plant growth promotion, and mitigation of drought stress in the plants.


Biodiversity PGPR Drought P solubilizers ACC deaminase 



The authors are grateful to the Department of Biotechnology, Akal College of Agriculture, Eternal University, Baru Sahib, and HP government’s Department of Environment, Science and Technology, Shimla, funded project “Development of Microbial Consortium as Bio-inoculants for Drought and Low Temperature Growing Crops for Organic Farming in Himachal Pradesh” for providing the facilities and financial support to undertake the investigations. There are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Divjot Kour
    • 1
  • Kusam Lata Rana
    • 1
  • Ajar Nath Yadav
    • 1
    Email author
  • Neelam Yadav
    • 2
  • Vinod Kumar
    • 3
  • Amit Kumar
    • 4
  • R. Z. Sayyed
    • 5
  • Abd El-Latif Hesham
    • 6
  • Harcharan Singh Dhaliwal
    • 1
  • Anil Kumar Saxena
    • 7
  1. 1.Microbial Biotechnology Laboratory, Department of Biotechnology, Akal College of AgricultureEternal UniversityBaru SahibIndia
  2. 2.Gopi Nath P.G. CollegeVeer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal UniversityJaunpurIndia
  3. 3.Plant BiochemistryAgriculture UniversityJodhpurIndia
  4. 4.Central Muga Eri Research and Training InstituteCentral Silk BoardJorhatIndia
  5. 5.Department of MicrobiologyPSGVP Mandal’s ASC CollegeShahadaIndia
  6. 6.Genetics Department, Faculty of AgricultureAssiut UniversityAssiutEgypt
  7. 7.ICAR-National Bureau of Agriculturally Important MicroorganismsMauIndia

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