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Rhizosphere bacteria containing 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase increase yield of plants grown in drying soil via both local and systemic hormone signalling

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2009
JournalNew Phytologist
Journal number2
Volume181
Number of pages11
Pages413-423
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Decreased soil water availability can stimulate production of the plant hormone ethylene and inhibit plant growth. Strategies aimed at decreasing stress ethylene evolution might attenuate its negative effects.

An environmentally benign (nonchemical) method of modifying crop ethylene relations - soil inoculation with a natural root-associated bacterium Variovorax paradoxus 5C-2 (containing the enzyme 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) deaminase that degrades the ethylene precursor ACC), was assessed with pea (Pisum sativum) plants grown in drying soil.

Inoculation with V. paradoxus 5C-2, but not with a transposome mutant with massively decreased ACC deaminase activity, improved growth, yield and water-use efficiency of droughted peas. Systemic effects of V. paradoxus 5C-2 included an amplified soil drying-induced increase of xylem abscisic acid (ABA) concentration, but an attenuated soil drying-induced increase of xylem ACC concentration. A local bacterial effect was increased nodulation by symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria, which prevented a drought-induced decrease in nodulation and seed nitrogen content.

Successfully deploying a single bacterial gene in the rhizosphere increased yield and nutritive value of plants grown in drying soil, via both local and systemic hormone signalling. Such bacteria may provide an easily realized, economic means of sustaining crop yields and using irrigation water more efficiently in dryland agriculture.

New Phytologist (2009) 181: 413-423doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2008.02657.x.