The efficacy of four potential phosphate solubilizing Enterobacter isolated from non-rhizospheric soil in Western ghat forest in India. Plant growth promoting ability of these isolates was evaluated in cowpea. All are gram negative, rod shaped, .8-1.6 mm in size, and psychrotrophic in nature, grow from 5 to 4°C (optimum temp. 28 Â+- 2°C). All isolates exhibits growth at a wide range of pH 6-12, optimum at pH 7. and tolerates up to 7% (w/v) salt concentration. 16S rRNA gene sequencing reveals the confirmation of isolates to Enterobacter aerogenes sp. (NII-97 and NII-929), Enterobacter cloacae subsp. cloacae sp. (NII-931) and Enterobacter asburiae sp. (NII-934) with which they share >99% sequence similarity. Under in vitro conditions, all the four isolates were found to produce indole acetic acid, P-solubilization and hydrogen cyanide. The P-solubilizing activity coincided with a concomitant decrease in pH of the medium (pH 7.-<3.). The plant growth promotion properties were demonstrated through a cow pea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) walp) based bioassay under greenhouse conditions. Although the bacterial inoculation was found to result in significant increment in root, shoot and biomass and it stimulated bacterial counts in the rhizosphere. Hence, these isolates can further formulated and used for field application.
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