The objective of the study was to assess the physiological diversity and metabolic activity of the soil bacterial communities inhabiting Spitsbergen soils in search of bacterial abilities facilitating plant growth promotion. In the soil, the total number of culturable microorganisms, the number of their individual physiological groups (including Siderophore Synthesizing; SSB and Phosphate Solubilizing Bacteria; PSB), the dehydrogenase (DH) activity, and the ability to utilize sources of C, N, P (EcoPlate) were analysed. In bacterial isolates, siderophores production, ACC (1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate) deaminase (ACCD) activity, IAA (indole-3-acetic acid) synthesis were examined. The isolates were applied to the seeds of Phaseolus coccineus
regarding their germination and root length. The results showed differences between copio- and oligotrophic bacteria. A usually high number of SSB was accompanied by the raised number of PSB. A bigger number of SSB was connected with low values of Fe in the soil. High DH activity was assisted by greater number of copio- and oligotrophic bacteria, raised average well color development value, and N and C contents in the soil. Germination index was more alike relative seed germination than relative root growth. IAA concentration and ACCD activity were conversely related. Synthesis of siderophores was matched with ACCD activity and its high level was combined with elevated germination index. In spite of different localization of soil samples, some isolates proved similar traits of activity. Distinct affiliation of isolates and their various localizations were displayed. Among all isolates tested, some possessed one main trait of activity, but most of them had two or more significant features for potential plant growth stimulation. These isolates could be an important source of useful bacteria.
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