Canola (Brassica napus L.) is the third largest crop produced in Australia after wheat and barley. For such crops, the variability of water access, reduced long-term annual rainfall and increasing water prices, higher overall production costs, and variability in production quantity and quality are driving the exploration of new tools to maintain production in an economical and environmentally sustainable way. Microorganisms associated with the rhizosphere have been shown to enhance plant growth and offer a potential way to maintain or even increase crop production quality and yield in an environmentally sustainable way. Here, seven bacterial isolates from canola rhizosphere samples are shown to enhance canola growth, particularly in low water activity systems. The seven strains all possessed commonly described plant growth promoting traits, including the ability to produce indole-3-acetic acid and 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase, and the capacity to solubilise nutrients (Fe2+/3+ and PO43−). When the isolates were inoculated at the time of sowing in pot-based systems with either sand or clay loam media, and in field trials, a significant increase in dry root and shoot biomass was recorded compared to uninoculated controls. It is likely that the strains' plant growth promoting capacity under water stress is due to the combined effects of the bacterial phenotypes examined here.
- Brassica napus L. (canola)
- Plant growth promoting traits
- Sustainable agriculture
- Water activity