The production of greenhouse ornamentals relies on high fertilizer inputs to meet scheduling deadlines and quality standards, but overfertilization has negative environmental impacts. The goals of this study were to identify plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) that can improve greenhouse ornamental crop performance with reduced fertilizer inputs, and to identify the best measurements of plant performance for assessing the beneficial impact of PGPR on ornamentals.
A high-throughput greenhouse trial was used to identify 14 PGPR isolates that improved the flower/bud number and shoot dry weight of Petunia × hybrida ‘Picobella Blue’ grown under low fertility conditions in peat-based media. These 14 PGPR were then applied to petunias grown under low fertility conditions (25 mg L−1 N). PGPR-treated plants were compared to negative (untreated at 25 mg L−1 N) and positive (untreated at 50, 75, 100, and 150 mg L−1 N) controls. Multiple parameters were measured in the categories of flowering, vegetative growth, and vegetative quality to determine the best measurements to assess improvements in ornamental plant performance.
Caballeronia zhejiangensis C7B12-treated plants performed better in almost all parameters and were comparable to untreated plants fertilized with 50 mg L−1 N. Genomic analysis identified genes that were potentially involved in plant growth promotion. This study identified potential PGPR that can be used as biostimulants to produce high-quality greenhouse ornamentals with lower fertilizer inputs.
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South, Kaylee & Nordstedt, Nathan & Jones, Michelle. (2021). Identification of Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria That Improve the Performance of Greenhouse-Grown Petunias under Low Fertility Conditions. Plants. 10. 1410. 10.3390/plants10071410.