Author(s): Leandro Marciano Marra
In addition to fixing atmospheric nitrogen, some bacterial isolates can also solubilize insoluble phosphates, further contributing to plant growth.
The objectives of this study were the following: isolate, select, and identify nodulating bacteria in the cowpea that are efficient not only in biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) but also in the solubilization of insoluble inorganic phosphates; identify and quantify the organic acids produced; and establish the relationship between those acids and the solubilizing capacity.
The bacteria were captured from two soils containing high concentrations of insoluble phosphorus from the cities of Lavras and Patos de Minas, using the cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] as bait. We obtained 78 strains, which were characterized according to their cultural attributes in culture medium 79 with the strains UFLA 03-84, INPA 03-11B, and BR3267 (approved by the Ministry of Livestock and Supply Agriculture—MAPA, as inoculants for the cowpea) and Burkholderia cepacia (LMG1222T), which was used as a positive control for phosphate solubilization. Strains that were selected for their efficiency in both processes were identified by 16S rDNA sequence analysis. We evaluated the symbiotic efficiency (BNF) in a greenhouse and the solubilization efficiency of CaHPO4, Al(H2PO4)3, and FePO4.2H2O in solid and liquid GELP media. Strains that excelled at the solubilization of these phosphate sources were also evaluated for the production of the following organic acids: oxalic, citric, gluconic, lactic, succinic, and propionic.
The presence of Acinetobacter, Bacillus, Firmicutes, Microbacterium, Paenibacillus, and Rhizobium was detected by 16S rDNA sequencing and analysis. Bacterial strains obtained from cowpea nodules varied greatly in the efficiency of their BNF and phosphate solubilization processes, especially in the strains UFLA 03-09, UFLA 03-10, UFLA 03-12, and UFLA 03-13, which were more efficient in both processes. More strains were able to solubilize insoluble inorganic calcium and iron phosphates in liquid medium than in solid medium. The production of organic acids was related to the solubilization of CaHPO4 and FePO4.2H2O for some strains, and the type and concentration of the acid influenced this process. Conclusions
These are the first results obtained with bacterial isolates from tropical soils in which the production of organic acids was detected and quantified to examine the solubilization of insoluble inorganic phosphates.