Background: Salinity is one of the increasingly serious environmental problems worldwide for cultivating agricultural crops. The present study was aimed to ascertain the potential of beneficial soil bacterium Azospirillum brasilense to alleviate saline stress in Trifolium repens. Experimental plants (white clover) were grown from seeds and inoculated with or without A. brasilense bacterial strain supplemented with 0, 40, 80, or 120 mM NaCl into soil.
Results: The growth attributes including, shoot heights, root lengths, fresh and dry weights, leaf area and chlorophyll content were significantly enhanced in T. repens plants grown in A. brasilense inoculated soil than un-inoculated controls, particularly under elevated salinity conditions (40, 80 and 120 mM NaCl). Malondialdehyde content of leaf was recorded to be declined under saline conditions. Moreover, the K+/Na+ ratio was also improved in bacterium-inoculated plants, since A. brasilense significantly reduced the root and shoot Na+ level under high salty environment.
Conclusions: Results revealed that soil inoculation with A. brasilense could significantly promote T. repens growth under both non-saline and saline environments, and this study might be extended to other vegetables and crops for the germination and growth enhancement.
Keywords: K+/Na+ ratio; Leaf physiology; Salinity; Salinity stress; Stem physiology.