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Role of an antagonistic bacterium, Bacillus subtilis PE7, in growth promotion of netted melon (Cucumis melo L. var. reticulatus Naud).

The aim of this study was to determine the plant growth promoting effect of Bacillus subtilis PE7 on growth of melon plants. B. subtilis PE7 isolated from kimchi, was identified based on colonial and microscopic morphology along with analyses of 16S rRNA and pycA gene sequences. Strain PE7 showed different levels of inhibition on phytopathogens and was able to grow at variable temperatures and pH values. Strain PE7 had the ability to produce siderophores, indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), ammonia, exopolysaccharides, and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid deaminase as well as solubilize insoluble phosphate and zinc. The IAA secretion of strain PE7 showed a concentration-dependent pattern based on the concentration of L-tryptophan supplemented in the fertilizer-based culture medium. The LC-MS analysis indicates the presence of IAA in the culture filtrate of strain PE7. Treatment of the B. subtilis PE7 culture containing different metabolites, mainly IAA, significantly promoted melon growth in terms of higher growth parameters and greater plant nutrient contents compared to treatments with the culture without IAA, fertilizer and water. The vegetative cells of B. subtilis PE7 attached to and firmly colonized the roots of the bacterized melon plants. Based on our results, B. subtilis PE7 can be utilized as a potential microbial fertilizer to substitute chemical fertilizers in sustainable agriculture.

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