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Microorganisms 2017, 5(3), 41; doi:10.3390/microorganisms5030041

Inoculation with Azospirillum sp. and Herbaspirillum sp. Bacteria Increases the Tolerance of Maize to Drought Stress

Facultad de Agronomía, Cátedra de Bioquímica, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Avenida San Martín 4453, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires C1417DSE, Argentina
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Received: 28 April 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 24 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Symbiotic Plant-Bacterial Endospheric Interactions)
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Abstract

Stress drought is an important abiotic factor that leads to immense losses in crop yields around the world. Strategies are urgently needed to help plants adapt to drought in order to mitigate crop losses. Here we investigated the bioprotective effects of inoculating corn grown under drought conditions with two types of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR), A. brasilense, strain SP-7, and H. seropedicae, strain Z-152. Plants inoculated with the bacteria were grown in a greenhouse with perlite as a substrate. Two hydric conditions were tested: normal well-watered conditions and drought conditions. Compared to control non-inoculated plants, those that were inoculated with PGPR bacteria showed a higher tolerance to the negative effects of water stress in drought conditions, with higher biomass production; higher carbon, nitrogen, and chlorophyll levels; and lower levels of abscisic acid and ethylene, which are plant hormones that affect the stress response. The oxidative stress levels of these plants were similar to those of non-inoculated plants grown in well-watered conditions, showing fewer injuries to the cell membrane. We also noted higher relative water content in the vegetal tissue and better osmoregulation in drought conditions in inoculated plants, as reflected by significantly lower proline content. Finally, we observed lower gene expression of ZmVP14 in the inoculated plants; notably, ZmVP14 is involved in the biosynthesis of abscisic acid. Taken together, these results demonstrate that these bacteria could be used to help plants cope with the negative effects of drought stress conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria; plant growth; plant stress; plant hormones; ZmVP14 gene plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria; plant growth; plant stress; plant hormones; ZmVP14 gene
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MDPI and ACS Style

Curá, J.A.; Franz, D.R.; Filosofía, J.E.; Balestrasse, K.B.; Burgueño, L.E. Inoculation with Azospirillum sp. and Herbaspirillum sp. Bacteria Increases the Tolerance of Maize to Drought Stress. Microorganisms 2017, 5, 41.

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