Bacillus pumilus ES4: Candidate plant growth-promoting bacterium to enhance establishment of plants in mine tailings

Luz E. de-Bashan, Juan Pablo Hernandez, Yoav Bashan, Raina M. Maier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Three plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB; Bacillus pumilus ES4, B. pumilus RIZO1, and Azospirillum brasilense Cd) were tested for their ability to enhance plant growth and development of the native Sonoran Desert shrub quailbush (Atriplex lentiformis) and for their effect on the native bacterial community in moderately acidic, high-metal content tailings (AHMT) and in neutral, low-metal content natural tailings (NLMT) in controlled greenhouse experiments. Inoculation of quailbush with all three PGPB significantly enhanced plant growth parameters, such as germination, root length, dry weight of shoots and roots, and root/shoot ratio in both types of tailings. The effect of inoculation on the indigenous bacterial community by the most successful PGPB B. pumilus ES4 was evaluated by denaturating gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) fingerprinting and root colonization was followed by specific fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH). Inoculation with this strain significantly changed the bacterial community over a period of 60 days. FISH analysis showed that the preferred site of colonization was the root tips and root elongation area. This study shows that inoculation of native perennial plants with PGPB can be used for developing technologies for phytostabilizing mine tailings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-352
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental and Experimental Botany
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Bacillus
  • DGGE
  • FISH
  • Mine tailings
  • Phytostabilization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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