Phosphate solubilizing bacteria and their role in plant growth promotion.
The use of phosphate solubilizing bacteria as inoculants simultaneously increases P uptake by the plant and crop yield. Strains from the genera Pseudomonas, Bacillus and Rhizobium are among the most powerful phosphate solubilizers. The principal mechanism for mineral phosphate solubilization is the production of organic acids, and acid phosphatases play a major role in the mineralization of organic phosphorous in soil. Several phosphatase-encoding genes have been cloned and characterized and a few genes involved in mineral phosphate solubilization have been isolated. Therefore, genetic manipulation of phosphate-solubilizing bacteria to improve their ability to improve plant growth may include cloning genes involved in both mineral and organic phosphate solubilization, followed by their expression in selected rhizobacterial strains. Chromosomal insertion of these genes under appropriate promoters is an interesting approach.