Response of upland rice (Oryza sativa L.) inoculated with non-native plant growth-promoting bacteria.
A deep-rooting upland rice variety (Kinandang Patong) was evaluated for its growth response to bio-fertilization at early stages. Five non-native plant growth-promoting bacteria previously isolated from yams (Dioscorea spp.) were inoculated to upland rice under growth chamber and greenhouse conditions. Effects of the inoculation varied depending on bacterial strains and growing conditions. Growth of 14-day rice seedlings was improved by all tested bacterial strains. Under growth chamber, the strain S-333 increased plant length, shoot dry weight and nitrogen content as compared to the control, but total dry weight, nitrogen uptake, leaf chlorophyll content and number of tillers were higher with N fertilizer application. Under greenhouse conditions, most rice growth parameters were improved by inoculation with the strain S-7. The correlations between the bacterial plant-growth-promoting traits and rice growth parameters under growth chamber conditions were all negative for phosphate solubilization indexes. Our results suggest that bacterial inoculation can replace half (S-343 and S-611) of or the full (S-7) rate of chemical N fertilizer required, depending on bacterial strains and growing environments, although δ15N value in control plants was lower than in inoculated plants under growth chamber conditions, suggesting that the bacteria improve rice growth through mechanisms other than biological nitrogen fixation.