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Microbes from the Negev Desert with Potential for Use as Plant-Growth Promoting Bacteria

Background: Exponential growth in the world population coupled with increasing environmental damage underlines the need for more sustainable and environmentally-friendly approaches to agricultural practice. Many current approaches utilize chemical additives to accelerate crop growth. Newer more environmentally-friendly strategies include the use of transgenic plants and plant-growth promoting bacteria (PGPB). Unfortunately most PGPBs identified thus far fix little or no nitrogen. This limits their utility in rhizosphere soil which contains the bulk of the nutrients found in arid environments. There is therefore a pressing need to identify PGPBs that not only have plant growth-promoting activity but also demonstrate the ability to fix nitrogen in order to support agriculture in underutilized arid nutrient-poor environments like deserts. Technology Description: Researchers in UCLA’s Department of Botany and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev have jointly identified a number of new PGPBs in the rhizosphere of the Negev Desert which may be useful in agriculture silviculture horticulture and environmental cleanup applications. Notably these species have been observed to fix nitrogen chelate iron solubilize phosphate and secrete cellulase. These characteristics make them excellent candidates to support growth in arid environments which will only become more widespread as global warming trends continue. Applications: 1) Promote plant growth in arid environments as a seed coating 2) Agriculture 3) Horticulture 4) Silviculture 5) Environmental cleanup


1) The first PGPB isolated from desert rhizosphere – likely to support growth in arid environments 2) Avoids the environmental consequences of using chemical growth agents

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