Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) are beneficial soil bacteria that can live either symbiotically with plants at rhizosphere or as endophytes living on or inside of the host plants. There are two main mechanisms via PGPR contribute to the plant growth. Direct mechanism consists of phytohormone production (i.e. auxins (IAA), cytokinins and gibberellins), biological nitrogen fixation, solubilizing inorganic phosphates, mineralizing organic phosphate and producing organic matter such as amino acids. As indirect mechanisms, PGPR aid plants in combat against the pathogen microorganisms by means of stimulating the disease-resistance mechanism of plants, promote favorable symbiosis, decontaminate the soil of xenobiotics. PGPR can also help plants to cope against abiotic stress by lowering ethylene levels, or against pathogenic microorganism by means of secreting antibacterial/antifungal substances. Exact mechanisms of PGPR characteristics which stimulate the plant growth or product formation are still under investigation, yet in agriculture, PGPR are used as environmental friendly biofertilizers, biocontrol agents or biostimulants. These beneficial bacteria are usually introduced to the plants either in powder or liquid form or the seeds are covered with the inoculants before sowing. Plants are subject to many different environmental elements. Abiotic factors such as drought or water stress have been one of the main plant growth limiting factors. Agricultural PGPR application is an alternative solution against loss due to the environmental stresses, since breeding a plant with stress resistance trait is a very long and tricky process due to the fact that such traits are controlled by multiple genes. PGPR phytohormone and enzyme (i.e. ACC deaminase) production can decrease the stress levels of plants while enhancing the root structures.
Part of the book: Plant Growth