Uncovering the Diversity and Potential of Helpful Soil Bacteria

Greg Howard
18th June, 2024

Uncovering the Diversity and Potential of Helpful Soil Bacteria

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study, conducted in Allahabad, India, isolated 87 Bacillus strains from organic farm soil
  • Two strains, PR30 and PR32, identified as Bacillus subtilis, effectively fought the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum
  • These strains also promoted plant growth by producing beneficial substances like plant hormones and solubilizing phosphate
  • In pot experiments, PR30 and PR32 significantly improved seed germination, root and shoot length, and nutrient content in tomato, broccoli, and chickpea plants
Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are gaining attention as a sustainable alternative to synthetic chemical pesticides. A recent study conducted by the Meerut Institute of Engineering and Technology examined the antagonistic potential of Bacillus strains isolated from organic farm soil samples in Allahabad, India[1]. This research aims to address the global challenge of managing plant pathogens while promoting plant growth through environmentally friendly methods. The study isolated and characterized 87 Bacillus strains based on their morphological, plant growth-promoting traits, and molecular characteristics. Diversity analysis was performed using 16S-rDNA, BOX-element, and enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus techniques. Two strains, PR30 and PR32, identified as Bacillus subtilis, exhibited significant antagonistic activity against the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum in vitro. These strains also produced multiple plant growth-promoting (PGP) traits, such as indole-3-acetic acid (a plant hormone), phosphate solubilization, ammonia, siderophore production, and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase. The antibiotic sensitivity test was performed to ensure that these strains could be safely used in agricultural settings. The two potent isolates, PR30 and PR32, were then tested for their plant growth-promoting effects on tomato, broccoli, and chickpea plants. In pot experiments, these Bacillus subtilis strains showed significant improvements in seed germination, root length, shoot length, vigor index, carotenoid content, and lycopene content in the tested plants. This study builds on previous research highlighting the potential of Bacillus species in plant growth promotion and biocontrol. For instance, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens has been recognized for its ability to enhance soil nutrient availability, alter soil microbial communities, and produce hormones and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that promote plant growth and resistance to pathogens[2]. Similarly, Bacillus volatiles have shown promising results in controlling plant nematodes and inducing plant defense mechanisms[3]. The findings of this study align with the broader trend of using molecular techniques to improve biological control agents. Advances in DNA-related technologies, such as next-generation sequencing (NGS) and CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, are revolutionizing the identification and manipulation of biocontrol agents[4]. These technologies offer unparalleled power to enhance the effectiveness of biological control methods, making them more reliable and widely applicable. In summary, the study conducted by the Meerut Institute of Engineering and Technology demonstrates the potential of Bacillus subtilis strains PR30 and PR32 as effective bioinoculants for promoting plant growth and controlling phytopathogens. The research highlights the importance of integrating molecular techniques and traditional biocontrol methods to develop sustainable agricultural practices. This approach not only addresses the limitations of synthetic chemical pesticides but also contributes to the global effort to achieve environmentally friendly and sustainable agriculture.

BiotechGeneticsPlant Science


Main Study

1) Molecular Characterization Reveals Biodiversity and Biopotential of Rhizobacterial Isolates of Bacillus Spp.

Published 18th June, 2024

Journal: Microbial ecology

Issue: Vol 87, Issue 1, Jun 2024

Related Studies

2) Bacillus amyloliquefaciens as an excellent agent for biofertilizer and biocontrol in agriculture: An overview for its mechanisms.


3) Nematicidal Volatiles from Bacillus atrophaeus GBSC56 Promote Growth and Stimulate Induced Systemic Resistance in Tomato against Meloidogyne incognita.


4) Conservation Biological Control of Pests in the Molecular Era: New Opportunities to Address Old Constraints.


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