Fish emulsion as a food base for rhizobacteria promoting growth of radish (Raphanus sativus L. var. sativus) in a sandy soil

K.A. El-Tarabily, A.H. Nassar, G.E.S. Hardy, Krishnapillai Sivasithamparam

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    Commercial fish emulsion was evaluated as a plant growth medium and as a nutrient base to enhance radish (Raphanus sativus L. var. sativus) growth by bacterial and actinomycete isolates. Six bacterial isolates including three actinomycetes were selected from a screening of 54 bacteria ( including 23 actinomycetes) based on their ability to produce plant growth regulators (PGRs) and to colonize radish roots. These isolates were tested in the presence and absence of autoclaved or non-autoclaved fish emulsion or inorganic fertilizers. The nutrient contents and types and levels of PGRs in tissues of treated plants were assayed to determine the basis of growth promotion. Fish emulsion was found to support plant growth in a sandy soil as effectively as an applied inorganic fertilizer. The plant growth promotion by bacterial and actinomycete isolates was most pronounced in the presence of autoclaved or non-autoclaved fish emulsion than in the presence of the inorganic fertilizers. The bacterial and actinomycete isolates were capable of producing auxins, gibberellins and cytokinins and appeared to use fish emulsion as a source of nutrients and precursors for PGRs. PGR levels in planta following combined treatments of the bacterial and actinomycete isolates and fish emulsion were found to be significantly enhanced over other treatments. The effect of fish emulsion appears to be more related to its role as a nutrient base for the bacterial and actinomycete isolates rather than to the increased activity of the general microflora of treated soil. This is the first report of fish emulsion as a nutrient base for plant growth promoting rhizobacteria. These results also indicate that the successful treatment can be effective and economical for horticultural production in sandy soils such as those found in the United Arab Emirates where fish emulsion is already in use as a substitute or supplement for inorganic fertilizer.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)397-411
    JournalPlant and Soil
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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