Increasing environmental concerns and growing demand for safer and sustainable food production presents significant challenges for agricultural production. One potential technique, which could help improve crop productivity without adverse impact on the environment, is the use of beneficial microbes in crop production systems. This study evaluated the effects of three Azospirillum brasilense
strains on tomato seedlings fertilized with effluent from freshwater fish aquaculture. Seeds were inoculated with A. brasilense
strains Sp7, Sp7-S and Sp245 before sowing and after transplanting. Seedlings were raised under controlled greenhouse conditions with natural light. Inoculated seedlings produced longer roots (67%), bigger leaves (22%), higher seedling biomass (>33%), and greater protein (15%) and endogenous plant IAA (94%) contents. Inoculation with Sp7 and Sp245 increased the number of leaves and stem diameter by 8 and 10%, respectively. Seedling height was also increased by inoculation, but only with Sp7. In addition, seedlings inoculated with strains Sp7-S and Sp245 had higher total phosphorus content, while inoculation with Sp245 increased the activity of the enzyme peroxidase, which suggests that plant defense responses had been triggered. The result demonstrates the potential of the applied A. brasilense
strains to enhance the usefulness of fish effluent as fertilizer for tomato seedling production.
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