Endophytes MQ23 and MQ23R isolated from Sophora alopecuroides root nodules were characterized by observing their ability to promote plant growth and employing molecular analysis techniques. Results showed that MQ23 and MQ23R are potential N2-fixing endophytes and belong to the same species as Bacillus cereus. MQ23 was shown to be able to produce siderophores, IAA, and demonstrate certain antifungal activity to plant pathogenic fungi. Co-inoculation with MQ23+MQ23II showed a more significant effect than inoculation alone in vitro for most of positive actions suggesting they have a cooperative interaction. Results of plant inoculation with endophytes indicated that the growth indexes of co-inoculated MQ23+MQ23II were higher than those of inoculated alone (p<0.05) (the exception being for root fresh weight) when compared to negative control. There have been little of any studies of nonrhizobial putative endophytes with growth-promotion attributes in S. alopecuroides root nodules. This could be exploited as potential bio-inoculants and biocontrol agents in agriculture.
Keywords: Bacillus cereus; Endophytic bacteria; Plant growth promoting characterization; Root nodules; Sophora alopecuroides.