Optimizing tomato seedling growth with indigenous mangrove bacterial inoculants and reduced NPK fertilization

Soumaya Tounsi-Hammami, Munawwar Ali Khan, Aroosa Zeb, Aneesa Rasheed Anwar, Naman Arora, Muhammad Naseem, Sunil Mundra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The search for ecofriendly products to reduce crop dependence on synthetic chemical fertilizers presents a new challenge. The present study aims to isolate and select efficient native PGPB that can reduce reliance on synthetic NPK fertilizers. A total of 41 bacteria were isolated from the sediment and roots of mangrove trees (Avicennia marina) and assessed for their PGP traits under in vitro conditions. Of them, only two compatible strains of Bacillus species were selected to be used individually and in a mix to promote tomato seedling growth. The efficiency of three inoculants applied to the soil was assessed in a pot experiment at varying rates of synthetic NPK fertilization (0, 50, and 100% NPK). The experiment was set up in a completely randomized design with three replications. Results showed that the different inoculants significantly increased almost all the studied parameters. However, their effectiveness is strongly linked to the applied rate of synthetic fertilization. Applying bacterial inoculant with only 50% NPK significantly increased the plant height (44-51%), digital biomass (60-86%), leaf area (77-87%), greenness average (29-36%), normalized difference vegetation index (29%), shoot dry weight (82-92%) and root dry weight (160-205%) compared to control plants. Concerning the photosynthetic activity, this treatment showed a positive impact on the concentrations of chlorophyll a (25-31%), chlorophyll b (34-39%), and carotenoid (45-49%). Interestingly, these increases ensured the highest values significantly similar to or higher than those of control plants given 100% NPK. Furthermore, the highest accumulation of N, P, K, Cu, Fe, Zn, and Ca in tomato shoots was recorded in plants inoculated with the bacterial mix at 50% NPK. It was proven for the first time that the native PGP bacteria derived from mangrove plant species A. marina positively affects the quality of tomato seedlings while reducing 50% NPK.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1356545
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Avicennia marina
  • Bacillussp
  • biofertilization
  • nutrient management
  • sustainable agriculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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