Assessing the role of endophytic bacteria in the halophyte Arthrocnemum macrostachyum salt tolerance.Plant Biol (Stuttg). 2017 Mar; 19(2):249-256.PB
There is an increasing interest to use halophytes for revegetation of salt affected ecosystems, as well as in understanding their mechanisms of salt tolerance. We hypothesized that bacteria from the phyllosphere of these plants might play a key role in its high tolerance to excessive salinity. Eight endophytic bacteria belonging to Bacillus and closely related genera were isolated from phyllosphere of the halophyte Arthrocnemum macrostachyum growing in salty agricultural soils. The presence of plant-growth promoting (PGP) properties, enzymatic activities and tolerance towards NaCl was determined. Effects of inoculation on seeds germination and adult plant growth under experimental NaCl treatments (0, 510 and 1030 mM NaCl) were studied. Inoculation with a consortium including the best performing bacteria improved considerably the kinetics of germination and the final germination percentage of A. macrostachyum seeds. At high NaCl concentrations (1030 mM), inoculation of plants mitigated the effects of high salinity on plant growth and physiological performance and, in addition, this consortium appears to have increased the potential of A. macrostachyum to accumulate Na+ in its shoots, thus improving sodium phytoextraction capacity. Bacteria isolated from A. macrostachyum phyllosphere seem to play an important role in plant salt tolerance under stressing salt concentrations. The combined use of A. macrostachyum and its microbiome can be an adequate tool to enhance plant adaptation and sodium phytoextraction during restoration of salt degraded soils.