Termites play an important role in soil ecology, transporting and mixing soil and organic material from different horizons. Diverse kinds of plant growth promoting bacteria (PGPB) have been reported in termite mound soil.
Objective: Here, an attempt has been made to screen and identify plant growth promoting traits in bacteria isolated and characterized from termite mound soil.
Material & Methods: Samples were collected from different regions of Himachal Pradesh and examined for bacterial, fungal and actinomycetes diversity. For in vitro screening of isolates for their PGP activities, tests include Indole Acetic Acid Test, production of ammonia (NH3), production of hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and production of siderophores. Isolates were also screened for proteolytic, cellulolytic and pectinolytic activities.
Result: In total of 132 isolates comprising of 70 bacteria, 58 actinomycetes and 4 fungi were isolated from the different samples of termite mound soil. Among these microbial isolates, 21 produced IAA (0.6-47.56 µg/mL), 12 produced siderophores (9.27-65.48%SU), 13 produced ammonia in peptone broth and showed HCN production. Proteolytic activity was observed for 24 bacterial isolates, pectinolytic activity for 9 isolates while only 2 isolates showed cellulolytic activity on plate assay. All the isolates were identified on the basis of morphological, cultural and biochemical characteristics.
Conclusion: This study will facilitate accurate identification of the bacterial isolates that harbor PGP traits essential in controlling foliar fungal pathogens, thereby enhancing their capability to overcome fungal diseases.