Present study investigates the impact of plant development on the structure and composition of root-associated bacterial community of groundnut (Arachis hypogaea) plant, an economically important oilseed legume. Relative abundance of total and active bacteria were studied in bulk soil and rhizosphere samples collected from different growth stages of groundnut plant by sequencing PCR-amplified 16S rRNA gene fragments from soil genomic DNA and reverse-transcribed soil community RNA. Plant growth promoting potential of cultivable rhizobacteria was evaluated using assays for inorganic phosphate solubilization and production of indole acetic acid, siderophores, biofilm, 1-amino-cyclopropane-1-carboxylate deaminase, laccase, and anti-fungal chemicals. Our study demonstrates that groundnut plant rhizosphere harbors a core microbiome populated by Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Acidobacteria. A distinct bacterial assemblage at nodulation stage due to predominance of Flavobacteria and Actinobacteria in DNA and RNA derived libraries respectively was also observed. Majority of cultivable isolates exhibiting plant growth promoting activities belonged to Proteobacteria and Firmicutes. Of them, Pseudomonas indica and Bacillus megaterium were detected in the rhizosphere samples from all the developmental stages of groundnut plant. This polyphasic study establishes the impact of plant development on rhizobacterial population of groundnut and underscores the applicability of soil isolates as a reliable component in sustainable agriculture.
Keywords: Arachis hypogaea; Bacterial diversity; Plant development; Rhizosphere.
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