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Rhizobacteria Isolated from Loblolly Pine Seedlings Mediate Growth-Promotion of Greenhouse-Grown Loblolly, Slash, and Longleaf Pine Seedlings

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Loblolly (Pinus taeda L.), slash (Pinus elliottii Engelm.), and longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) seeds were inoculated in the greenhouse with rhizobacteria recovered from 4-month-old bareroot loblolly pine seedlings. Emergence and seedling densities were determined at 3- and 8-week intervals after sowing, respectively, with root and shoot biomass measured at 12 weeks. All bacterial strains significantly increased the speed of seedling emergence relative to untreated loblolly and slash pine seeds, while five strains significantly slowed longleaf germination. For loblolly and slash pine, there were no differences in percentage germination when comparing treated and untreated seed. However, all bacterial strains significantly reduced longleaf germination over nontreated seed. Treatment with rhizobacteria had significant positive and negative effects on seedling growth and biomass, depending on the tree species and bacteria isolate used. Five of the eight bacterial isolates tested increased shoot length of loblolly pine seedlings, whereas one strain increased above- and belowground biomass. Slash pine seedlings experienced growth increases with three bacterial strains. However, two bacterial strains, ALA-41G and ALA-54G, resulted in shorter slash pine shoots. Only strain ALA-3G increased shoot biomass of longleaf pine over nontreated longleaf seed. Increased seedling emergence and growth promotion by rhizobacteria collected from Pinus sp. is a potential useful tool for management of these forest species. The effect may be species-specific and the use of bacteria in forest nurseries for growth promotion will need to take this into account. FOR. SCI. 51(6):541–545.

Keywords: Emergence; PGPR; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; seedling growth

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor School of Forestry & Wildlife Sciences Auburn University Auburn AL 36849 Phone: (334) 844-1028;, Fax: (334) 844-1084, Email:

Publication date: December 1, 2005

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