Early growth promotion and leaf level physiology changes in Burkholderia phytofirmans strain PsJN inoculated switchgrass
Wang, B.; Mei, C.; Seiler, J.R.
Plant Physiology and Biochemistry: Ppb 86: 16-23
Switchgrass (SG) is one of the most promising next generation biofuel crops in North America. Inoculation with bacterial endophytes has improved growth of several plant species. Our study demonstrated that Burkholderia phytofirmans strain PsJN, a well-studied plant growth promoting rhizo-bacterium (PGPR) significantly increased both aboveground and belowground biomass (DW) and promoted elongation of root, stem and leaf within 17 days following inoculation. Furthermore, the enhanced root growth in PsJN inoculated plants lagged behind the shoot response, resulting in greater allocation to aboveground growth (p = 0.0041). Lower specific root length (SRL, p = 0.0158) and higher specific leaf weight (SLW, p = 0.0029) were also observed in PsJN inoculated seedlings, indicating changes in development. Photosynthetic rates (Ps) were also significantly higher in PsJN inoculated seedlings after 17 days (54%, p = 0.0016), and this occurred initially without increases in stomatal conductance resulting in significantly greater water use efficiency (WUE, 37.7%, p = 0.0467) and lower non-stomatal limitation (LNS, 29.6%, p = 0.0222). These rapid changes in leaf level physiology are at least partially responsible for the growth enhancement due to PsJN.