Isolation and characterization of plant growth promoting endophytic bacteria from Eriocephalus africanus roots]
Endophytic bacteria are known to have an endosymbiotic relationship with plants and provide them with many beneficial properties. These bacteria stimulate plant hormones, provide protection from pathogens and increase nutrient availability in the environment. In this study some of these potential growth factors were tested. Endophytic bacteria have the potential to be of great value for the increase of crop production. They offer a variety of processes that aid in plant growth promotion in an ecofriendly manner. The use of endophytic bacteria provides a cheaper and cleaner approach compared to industrial made fertilizers. They also have potential uses in bioremediation to clean the environment polluted by industrial processes. Endophytes were isolated and showed significant growth improvement. Each isolate displayed different morphologies. Isolates were tested for classical growth promotion mechanisms such as the ability to solubilize phosphate, Indole-3-acetic acid and siderophore production. Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry was performed to measure the effect of the isolates on the plants nutrient profile. The isolates were then tested again while the plants were under heavy metal stress to determine if they were still capable of growth promotion. The plants were then assayed for cell death using Evans blue and biomass was measured to determine the effect of vanadium stress. Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometry was performed again to assess the change in nutrient profile while under vanadium stress.