Plant and Soil

, Volume 356, Issue 1–2, pp 231–243 | Cite as

Survival of endophytic bacteria in polymer-based inoculants and efficiency of their application to sugarcane

  • Marinete Flores da Silva
  • Cecília de Souza Antônio
  • Paulo Jansen de Oliveira
  • Gustavo Ribeiro Xavier
  • Norma Gouvêa Rumjanek
  • Luis Henrique de Barros Soares
  • Veronica Massena Reis
Regular Article


Background & aims

Studies have been conducted to evaluate maintenance of cell viability and stability, as well as to select cheap carriers to extend the shelf life of plant beneficial bacterial inoculants for agricultural crops. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the shelf life and the colonization efficiency of novel liquid and gel-based inoculant formulations for sugarcane. The different inoculant formulations were all composed of a mixture of five strains of diazotrophic bacteria (Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus, Herbaspirillum seropedicae, H. rubrisubalbicans, Azospirillum amazonense and Burkholderia tropica), which are recognized as sugarcane growth promoters.


Different inoculant formulations containing as carrier the polymers carboxymethylcellulose (CMC) and corn starch (60/40 ratio) at five different concentrations (named PIC, for Polymeric Inoculant Carrier) were supplemented, or not, with 2 % MgO, an interfacial stabilizing agent. Bacterial survival in the different formulations during storage was evaluated under controlled conditions, and two experiments with mini-cuttings of sugarcane variety RB72454 were carried out under greenhouse conditions.


Laboratory tests showed that in the formulation composed of 0.8 g of the polymeric mixture per 100 g of the final product (PIC 0.8), survival of G. diazotrophicus and A. amazonense was around 109 CFU∙mL−1 after 120 days of storage, regardless of the supplementation with MgO. The other formulation (2.2 g of polymeric mixture, PIC 2.2) presented survival levels of 108 CFU∙mL−1 for up to 60 days of storage for all the individual strains. In the greenhouse, sugarcane seedlings showed a positive growth response 50 days after inoculation when inoculated with the mixture of five bacteria, with and without PIC 2.2.


The polymer carriers described here allowed for the long-term survival of the five different bacterial strains tested. In addition, short-term experiments in the greenhouse showed that their application as part of an inoculant on sugarcane cuttings was at least as effective in terms of bacterial colonization and the promotion of plant growth as that of the bacterial mixture without carriers.


Inoculants Colonization Microorganisms PGPB Poaceae 



This work was partially funded by Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária—Embrapa grant number, National Researcher Council (CNPq) grant number 475754/2008-5, Rio de Janeiro Researcher Foundation (FAPERJ) grant number E- 26/112.020/2008. Also the PhD and MS researcher fellowships of the students and Faperj “Bolsa Cientista do Nosso Estado” of (FAPERJ) and CNPq of the researchers. The authors wish to thank Dr. Robert Michael Boddey for his kind revision of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

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Fig. S5 (PDF 171 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marinete Flores da Silva
    • 1
  • Cecília de Souza Antônio
    • 1
  • Paulo Jansen de Oliveira
    • 2
  • Gustavo Ribeiro Xavier
    • 3
  • Norma Gouvêa Rumjanek
    • 3
  • Luis Henrique de Barros Soares
    • 3
  • Veronica Massena Reis
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Soil SciencesUniversidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro (UFRRJ)SeropédicaBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Chemical EngineeringUFRRJSeropédicaBrazil
  3. 3.Embrapa AgrobiologiaSeropédicaBrazil

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