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Ecology and Epidemiology

Effects of Rhizosphere Colonization by Plant Growth-Promoting Rhizobacteria on Potato Plant Development and Yield. J. W. Kloepper, Assistant professor, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Berkeley 94720; M. N. Schroth(2), and T. D. Miller(3). (2)Professor, Department of Plant Pathology, University of California, Berkeley 94720; (3)Research plant pathologist, Miller Farms Research, Minidoka, ID 83343. Phytopathology 70:1078-1082. Accepted for publication 15 May 1980. Copyright 1980 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/Phyto-70-1078.

Two strains of fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. isolated from potato periderms and from celery roots significantly increased growth of potato plants up to 500% greater than controls in greenhouse assays. Mutants of these plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) resistant to rifampicin and nalidixic acid rapidly colonized rhizospheres of roots emerging from treated seed pieces in field tests. The bacteria colonized the entire rhizosphere of treated plants including developing daughter tubers and the apical roots of adjacent nontreated plants. PGPR rhizosphere populations were as great as 9.6 105 colony-forming units per centimeter (cfu/cm) of root 2 wk after plant emergence and averaged 103 cfu/cm throughout the season, but declined to approximately 102 cfu/cm at harvest time. PGPR populations were relatively constant throughout the root system. Field tests were done in various soil types with pH ranges from 6.8 to 7.8. PGPR rhizosphere colonization resulted in significant increases in stolon length 2 wk after plant emergence in all six sampled fields. The early season plant growth promotion caused by PGPR was followed by significant yield increases up to 17% compared to untreated controls in four of five harvested fields.