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posted on 04.04.2018, 04:33 by Ihsanullah Daur, Maged M. Saad, Abdul Aziz Eida, Shakeel Ahmad, Zahid Hussain Shah, Muhammad Z. Ihsan, Yasir Muhammad, Sayed S. Sohrab, Heribert Hirt

This study focused on rhizobacteria to promote sustainable crop production in arid regions of Saudi Arabia. The study isolated 17 tightly root-adhering rhizobacteria from various plants at Hada Al Sham in Saudi Arabia. All 17 rhizobacterial isolates were confirmed as plant growth promoting rhizobacteria by classical biochemical tests. Using 16S rDNA gene sequence analyses, the strains were identified as Bacillus, Acinetobacter and Enterobacter. Subsequently, the strains were assessed for their ability to improve the physiology, nutrient uptake, growth, and yield of alfalfa plants grown under desert agriculture conditions. The field trials were conducted in a randomized complete block design. Inoculation of alfalfa with any of these 17 strains improved the relative water content; chlorophyll a; chlorophyll b; carotenoid contents; nitrogen (N), phosphorus, and potassium contents; plant height; leaf-to-stem ratio; and fresh and dry weight. Acinetobacter pittii JD-14 was most effective to increase fresh and dry weight of alfalfa by 41 and 34%, respectively, when compared to non-inoculated control plants. Nevertheless, all strains enhanced crop traits when compared to controls plants, indicating that these desert rhizobacterial strains could be used to develop an eco-friendly biofertilizer for alfalfa and possibly other crop plants to enhance sustainable production in arid regions.