pp 1–9 | Cite as

Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria in sustainable agriculture: from theoretical to pragmatic approach

  • Samar Mustafa
  • Saba Kabir
  • Umbreen Shabbir
  • Rida BatoolEmail author


Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are the residents of rhizosphere that are known to influence plant growth and survival through the production of various regulatory chemicals under a variety of circumstances. This growth promotion is accomplished by both direct and indirect means. Direct effects of PGPR encompass two major activities, that is, Bio-fertilization (Enhancement of nutrient uptake including nitrogen and phosphorous primarily) and phytostimulation (Production of plant growth promoting hormones). Indirect effects of PGPR are majorly contained within their ability as biocontrol agents that antagonize the growth and survival of phytopathogens either by the production of antagonizing chemicals (Local antagonism) or by the induction of systemic resistance throughout the plant against pathogens. The understanding of such diverse growth promoting abilities of PGPR has led to their application as potent biofertilizers for sustainable agriculture. However, further analyses of the agro-ecosystem with complex biotic and abiotic mechanisms should not be overlooked for their extensive commercial applications and future prospects.


PGPR Bio-fertilization Phytostimulation ISR 



  1. Abriouel H, Franz CM, Omar NB, Gálvez A (2011) Diversity and applications of bacillus bacteriocins. FEMS Microbiol Rev 35(1):201–232Google Scholar
  2. Adediran GA, Ngwenya BT, Mosselmans JFW, Heal KV, Harvie BA (2016) Mixed planting with a leguminous plant outperforms bacteria in promoting growth of a metal remediating plant through histidine synthesis. Int J Phytoremediation 18(7):720–729Google Scholar
  3. Ahemad M, Kibret M (2014) Mechanisms and applications of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria: current perspective. J King Saud Univ Sci 26(1):1–20Google Scholar
  4. Ahmed E, Holmström SJ (2014) Siderophores in environmental research: roles and applications. Microb Biotechnol 7(3):196–208Google Scholar
  5. Ali S, Charles TC, Glick BR (2014) Amelioration of high salinity stress damage by plant growth-promoting bacterial endophytes that contain ACC deaminase. Plant Physiol Biochem 80:160–167Google Scholar
  6. Antoun H, Prévost D (2005) Ecology of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria. In PGPR: biocontrol and biofertilization. Springer, Netherlands, pp 1–38Google Scholar
  7. Arkhipova T, Veselov S, Melentiev A, Martynenko E, Kudoyarova G (2005) Ability of bacterium Bacillus subtilis to produce cytokinins and to influence the growth and endogenous hormone content of lettuce plants. Plant Soil 272(1–2):201–209Google Scholar
  8. Atlas RM, Bartha R (1998) Microbial ecology: fundamentals and applications, 4th edn. Pearson Education, New Delhi, India, pp 109–126Google Scholar
  9. Beneduzi A, Ambrosini A, Passaglia LM (2012) Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR): their potential as antagonists and biocontrol agents. Genet Mol Biol 35(4):1044–1051Google Scholar
  10. Bhattacharyya PN, Jha DK (2012) Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR): emergence in agriculture. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 28(4):1327–1350Google Scholar
  11. Blumer C, Haas D (2000) Mechanism, regulation, and ecological role of bacterial cyanide biosynthesis. Arch Microbiol 173(3):170–177Google Scholar
  12. Bull CT, Shetty KG, Subbarao KV (2002) Interactions between myxobacteria, plant pathogenic fungi, and biocontrol agents. Plant Dis 86(8):889–896Google Scholar
  13. Calvo P, Nelson L, Kloepper JW (2014) Agricultural uses of plant biostimulants. Plant Soil 383(1–2):3–41Google Scholar
  14. Cascales E, Buchanan SK, Duché D, Kleanthous C, Lloubes R, Postle K et al (2007) Colicin biology. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 71(1):158–229Google Scholar
  15. Chauhan H, Bagyaraj DJ, Selvakumar G, Sundaram SP (2015) Novel plant growth promoting rhizobacteria—prospects and potential. Appl Soil Ecol 95:38–53Google Scholar
  16. Chen W, Yan G, Li J (1988) Numerical taxonomic study of fast-growing soybean rhizobia and a proposal that rhizobium fredii be assigned to Sinorhizobium gen. nov. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 38(4):392–397Google Scholar
  17. Choudhary DK, Prakash A, Johri BN (2007) Induced systemic resistance (ISR) in plants: mechanism of action. Indian J Microbiol 47(4):289–297Google Scholar
  18. de Souza JT, Arnould C, Deulvot C, Lemanceau P, Gianinazzi-Pearson V, Raaijmakers JM (2003) Effect of 2, 4-diacetylphloroglucinol on Pythium: cellular responses and variation in sensitivity among propagules and species. Phytopathology 93(8):966–975Google Scholar
  19. Deka H, Deka S, Baruah C (2015) Plant Growth Promoting Rhizobacteria for Value Addition: Mechanism of Action.  In: Egamberdieva D, Shrivastava S, Varma A (eds)  Plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and Medicinal plants, Soil Biology, vol 42. Springer, Cham, pp 305–321Google Scholar
  20. Denton BP (2007) Advances in phytoremediation of heavy metals using plant growth promoting bacteria and fungi. Basic Biotechnol 3(1):1–5Google Scholar
  21. Dowling DN, O'Gara F (1994) Metabolites of Pseudomonas involved in the biocontrol of plant disease. Trends Biotechnol 12(4):133–141Google Scholar
  22. Duca D, Lorv J, Patten C, Rose D, Glick B (2014) Microbial indole-3-acetic acid and plant growth. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek 106:85–125Google Scholar
  23. Fatnassi IC, Chiboub M, Saadani O, Jebara M, Jebara SH (2015) Phytostabilization of moderate copper contaminated soils using co-inoculation of Vicia faba with plant growth promoting bacteria. J Basic Microbiol 55(3):303–311Google Scholar
  24. Fernando WD, Nakkeeran S, Zhang Y (2005) Biosynthesis of antibiotics by PGPR and its relation in biocontrol of plant diseases. In PGPR: biocontrol and biofertilization. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 67–109Google Scholar
  25. Frankowski J, Lorito M, Scala F, Schmid R, Berg G, Bahl H (2001) Purification and properties of two chitinolytic enzymes of Serratia plymuthica HRO-C48. Arch Microbiol 176(6):421–426Google Scholar
  26. Glick BR (2012) Plant growth-promoting bacteria: mechanisms and applications. Scientifica 2012, Article ID 963401, pp 1–15.
  27. Glick BR, Todorovic B, Czarny J, Cheng Z, Duan J, McConkey B (2007) Promotion of plant growth by bacterial ACC deaminase. Crit Rev Plant Sci 26(5–6):227–242Google Scholar
  28. Gray EJ, Smith DL (2005) Intracellular and extracellular PGPR: commonalities and distinctions in the plant–bacterium signaling processes. Soil Biol Biochem 37(3):395–412Google Scholar
  29. Grobelak A, Napora A, Kacprzak M (2015) Using plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) to improve plant growth. Ecol Eng 84:22–28Google Scholar
  30. Gupta S, Seth R, Sharma A (2016) Plant growth-promoting Rhizobacteria play a role as phytostimulators for sustainable agriculture plant-microbe interaction. In: Choudhary DK, Varma A, Narendra T (eds) An approach to sustainable agriculture. Springer, Singapore, pp 475–493Google Scholar
  31. Haas D, Défago G (2005) Biological control of soil-borne pathogens by fluorescent pseudomonads. Nat Rev Microbiol 3(4):307–319Google Scholar
  32. Hayat R, Ali S, Amara U, Khalid R, Ahmed I (2010) Soil beneficial bacteria and their role in plant growth promotion: a review. Ann Microbiol 60(4):579–598Google Scholar
  33. Hu Y, Ribbe MW (2016) Biosynthesis of the metalloclusters of nitrogenases. Annu Rev Biochem 85:455–483Google Scholar
  34. Huang J, Liu Z, Li S, Xu B, Gong Y, Yang Y, Sun H (2016) Isolation and engineering of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa for enhanced cadmium bioremediation. J Gen Appl Microbiol 62(5):258–265Google Scholar
  35. Jarvis B, Van Berkum P, Chen W, Nour S, Fernandez M, Cleyet-Marel J, Gillis M (1997) Transfer of Rhizobium loti, Rhizobium huakuii, Rhizobium ciceri, Rhizobium mediterraneum, and Rhizobium tianshanense to Mesorhizobium gen. nov. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 47(3):895–898Google Scholar
  36. Jordan D (1982) Transfer of Rhizobium japonicum Buchanan 1980 to Bradyrhizobium gen. nov., a genus of slow-growing, root nodule bacteria from leguminous plants. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 32(1):136–139Google Scholar
  37. Kang BG, Kim WT, Yun HS, Chang SC (2010) Use of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria to control stress responses of plant roots. Plant Biotechnol Rep 4(3):179–183Google Scholar
  38. Karnwal A (2009) Production of indole acetic acid by fluorescent Pseudomonas in the presence of L-tryptophan and rice root exudates. J Plant Pathol 61–63Google Scholar
  39. Karnwal A (2017) Isolation and identification of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria from maize (Zea mays L.) rhizosphere and their plant growth promoting effect on rice (Oryza sativa L.). J Plant Prot Res 57(2):144–151Google Scholar
  40. Khan MS, Zaidi A, Ahemad M, Oves M, Wani PA (2010) Plant growth promotion by phosphate solubilizing fungi–current perspective. Arch Agron Soil Sci 56(1):73–98Google Scholar
  41. Kim J, Rees DC (1994) Nitrogenase and biological nitrogen fixation. Biochemistry 33(2):389–397Google Scholar
  42. Kloepper JW (1994) Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (other systems). In: Okon Y (ed) Azospirillum/plant Associations. CRC press, Florida, USA, pp 137–166Google Scholar
  43. Kobayashi DY, Nour EH (1996) Selection of bacterial antagonists using enrichment cultures for the control of summer patch disease in Kentucky bluegrass. Curr Microbiol 32(2):106–110Google Scholar
  44. Kuffner M, Puschenreiter M, Wieshammer G, Gorfer M, Sessitsch A (2008) Rhizosphere bacteria affect growth and metal uptake of heavy metal accumulating willows. Plant Soil 304(1–2):35–44Google Scholar
  45. Laranjo M, Alexandre A, Oliveira S (2014) Legume growth-promoting rhizobia: an overview on the Mesorhizobium genus. Microbiol Res 169(1):2–17Google Scholar
  46. Liu F, Xing S, Ma H, Du Z, Ma B (2013) Cytokinin-producing, plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria that confer resistance to drought stress in Platycladus orientalis container seedlings. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 97(20):9155–9164Google Scholar
  47. Lugtenberg B, Kamilova F (2009) Plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria. Annu Rev Microbiol 63:541–556Google Scholar
  48. Maksimov IV, Abizgil’Dina RR, Pusenkova LI (2011) Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria as alternative to chemical crop protectors from pathogens. Appl Biochem Microbiol 47(4):333–345Google Scholar
  49. Nadeem SM, Zahir ZA, Naveed M, Arshad M (2009) Rhizobacteria containing ACC-deaminase confer salt tolerance in maize grown on salt-affected fields. Can J Microbiol 55(11):1302–1309Google Scholar
  50. Nadeem SM, Naveed M, Zahir ZA, Asghar HN (2013) Plant–microbe interactions for sustainable agriculture: fundamentals and recent advances. In: Naveen KA (ed) Plant microbe symbiosis: fundamentals and advances. Springer, New Delhi, pp 51–103Google Scholar
  51. Nandakumar R, Babu S, Viswanathan R, Sheela J, Raguchander T, Samiyappan R (2001) A new bio-formulation containing plant growth promoting rhizobacterial mixture for the management of sheath blight and enhanced grain yield in rice. BioControl 46(4):493–510Google Scholar
  52. Neeraja C, Anil K, Purushotham P, Suma K, Sarma PVSRN, Moerschbacher BM, Podile AR (2010) Biotechnological approaches to develop bacterial chitinases as a bioshield against fungal diseases of plants. Crit Rev Biotechnol 30(3):231–241Google Scholar
  53. Nelson LM (2004) Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR): prospects for new inoculants. Crop Manage 3(1):0–0Google Scholar
  54. Nelson SK, Steber CM (2016) Gibberellin hormone signal perception: down-regulating DELLA repressors of plant growth and development. Annu Plant Rev 49(49):153–88Google Scholar
  55. Olanrewaju OS, Glick BR, Babalola OO (2017) Mechanisms of action of plant growth promoting bacteria. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 33(11):197Google Scholar
  56. Ordentlich A, Elad Y, Chet I (1988) The role of chitinase of Serratia marcescens in biocontrol of Sclerotium rolfsii. Phytopathology 78(1):84–88Google Scholar
  57. Palumbo JD, Yuen GY, Jochum CC, Tatum K, Kobayashi DY (2005) Mutagenesis of β-1, 3-glucanase genes in Lysobacter enzymogenes strain C3 results in reduced biological control activity toward Bipolaris leaf spot of tall fescue and Pythium damping-off of sugar beet. Phytopathology 95(6):701–707Google Scholar
  58. Pandey P, Maheshwari D (2007) Two-species microbial consortium for growth promotion of Cajanus cajan. Curr Sci 1137–1142Google Scholar
  59. Patten CL, Glick BR (1996) Bacterial biosynthesis of indole-3-acetic acid. Can J Microbiol 42(3):207–220Google Scholar
  60. Pii Y, Penn A, Terzano R, Crecchio C, Mimmo T, Cesco S (2015) Plant-microorganism-soil interactions influence the Fe availability in the rhizosphere of cucumber plants. Plant Physiol Biochem 87:45–52Google Scholar
  61. Rajkumar M, Lee KJ, Lee WH, Banu JR (2005) Growth of Brassica juncea under chromium stress: influence of siderophores and indole 3 acetic acid producing rhizosphere bacteria. J Environ Biol 26(4):693–699Google Scholar
  62. Rajkumar M, Ae N, Prasad MN, Freitas H (2010) Potential of siderophore-producing bacteria for improving heavy metal phytoextraction. Trends Biotechnol 28(3):142–149Google Scholar
  63. Reddy SM, Girisham S, Babu GN (2017) Applied microbiology (agriculture, environmental, food and industrial microbiology). Scientific Publishers, New Delhi, pp 14–45Google Scholar
  64. Riley MA (1993) Molecular mechanisms of colicin evolution. Mol Biol Evol 10(6):1380–1395Google Scholar
  65. Ryu CM, Hu CH, Locy RD, Kloepper JW (2005) Study of mechanisms for plant growth promotion elicited by rhizobacteria in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Soil 268(1):285–292Google Scholar
  66. Saha R, Saha N, Donofrio RS, Bestervelt LL (2013) Microbial siderophores: a mini review. J Basic Microbiol 53(4):303–317Google Scholar
  67. Saha M, Sarkar S, Sarkar B, Sharma BK, Bhattacharjee S, Tribedi P (2016) Microbial siderophores and their potential applications: a review. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23(5):3984–3999Google Scholar
  68. Saleem M, Arshad M, Hussain S, Bhatti AS (2007) Perspective of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) containing ACC deaminase in stress agriculture. J Ind Microbiol Biotechnol 34(10):635–648Google Scholar
  69. Sarode P, Rane M, Chaudhari B, Chincholkar S (2007) Screening for siderophore producing PGPR from black cotton soils of North Maharashtra. Curr Trends Biotechnol Pharm 1(1):96–105Google Scholar
  70. Shaharoona B, Arshad M, Khalid A (2007) Differential response of etiolated pea seedlings to inoculation with rhizobacteria capable of utilizing 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate or L-methionine. J Microbiol 45(1):15–20Google Scholar
  71. Sharma SB, Sayyed RZ, Trivedi MH, Gobi TA (2013) Phosphate solubilizing microbes: sustainable approach for managing phosphorus deficiency in agricultural soils. SpringerPlus 2(1):587Google Scholar
  72. Shilev S (2013) Soil rhizobacteria regulating the uptake of nutrients and undesirable elements by plants. In: Naveen KA (ed) Plant microbe symbiosis: fundamentals and advances. Springer, New Delhi, pp 147–167Google Scholar
  73. Singh PP, Shin YC, Park CS, Chung YR (1999) Biological control of Fusarium wilt of cucumber by chitinolytic bacteria. Phytopathology 89(1):92–99Google Scholar
  74. Son JS, Sumayo M, Hwang YJ, Kim BS, Ghim SY (2014) Screening of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria as elicitor of systemic resistance against gray leaf spot disease in pepper. Appl Soil Ecol 73:1–8Google Scholar
  75. Soylu S, Soylu EM, Kurt S, Ekici OK (2005) Antagonistic potentials of rhizosphere-associated bacterial isolates against soil-borne diseases of tomato and pepper caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and Rhizoctonia solani. Pak J Biol Sci 8(1):43–48Google Scholar
  76. Tabassum B, Khan A, Tariq M, Ramzan M, Khan MSI, Shahid N, Aaliya K (2017) Bottlenecks in commercialisation and future prospects of PGPR. Appl Soil Ecol 121:102–117Google Scholar
  77. Tariq M, Yasmin S, Hafeez FY (2010) Biological control of potato black scurf by rhizosphere associated bacteria. Braz J Microbiol 41(2):439–451Google Scholar
  78. Tewari S, Arora NK (2013) Transactions among microorganisms and plant in the composite Rhizosphere habitat. In: Naveen KA (ed) Plant microbe symbiosis: fundamentals and advances. Springer, New Delhi, pp 1–50Google Scholar
  79. Tripathi RK, Gottlieb D (1969) Mechanism of action of the antifungal antibiotic pyrrolnitrin. J Bacteriol 100(1):310–318Google Scholar
  80. Van Loon LC (2007) Plant responses to plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria. Eur J Plant Pathol 119(3):243–254Google Scholar
  81. Van Loon LC, Bakker PAHM, Pieterse CMJ (1998) Systemic resistance induced by rhizosphere bacteria. Annu Rev Phytopathol 36(1):453–483Google Scholar
  82. Vejan P, Abdullah R, Khadiran T, Ismail S, Nasrulhaq Boyce A (2016) Role of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria in agricultural sustainability—a review. Molecules 21(5):573Google Scholar
  83. Walker TS, Bais HP, Grotewold E, Vivanco JM (2003) Root exudation and rhizosphere biology. Plant Physiol 132(1):44–51Google Scholar
  84. Wu CH, Wood TK, Mulchandani A, Chen W (2006) Engineering plant-microbe symbiosis for rhizoremediation of heavy metals. Appl Environ Microbiol 72(2):1129–1134Google Scholar
  85. Yadegari M, Rahmani HA, Noormohammadi G, Ayneband A (2010) Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria increase growth, yield and nitrogen fixation in Phaseolus vulgaris. J Plant Nutr 33(12):1733–1743Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samar Mustafa
    • 1
  • Saba Kabir
    • 1
  • Umbreen Shabbir
    • 1
  • Rida Batool
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Molecular GeneticsUniversity of the PunjabLahorePakistan

Personalised recommendations