Aims: In this study, we set out to identify bacteria that can be used to promote the growth of cereals, while concurrently investigating the merits of using a range of such tests to preselect bacteria for glasshouse studies.
Methods and Results: A panel of 15 strains isolated from the rhizosphere and phyllosphere of cereals was tested for the ability to improve the germination of wheat seeds and for production of a range of factors associated with plant growth promotion. In parallel, all bacteria were tested for their ability to improve biomass and grain yield when applied as a soil amendment in glasshouse trials.
Conclusions: There was no significant correlation between growth promotion potential in the glasshouse and the results of either the phenotypic or the germination tests. Glasshouse tests identified that only one strain, Pseudomonas fluorescens strain MKB37, gave a significant increase in head weight and grain yield.
Significance and Impact of the Study: While this study has identified a candidate for further field tests, it has also highlighted the fact that the modes of action for plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) are still not fully understood, and that there is no efficient and effective screening method for identifying PGPB by laboratory tests.