The need to adopt more sustainable practices in agriculture has increased the demand for bioinoculants development and research. In this regard, plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) have become the target of studies for increasing the yield of agricultural crops through rising nutrient availability in the soil and the synthesis of plant hormones such as auxin and gibberiline. In addition, PGPB emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are able to promote plant growth without root system colonization. VOCs are small gaseous molecules of lipophilic nature that act on short and long-distance organism interactions. To ensure better results in plant productivity, promising strains of PGPB, isolated from sugarcane root and soil, should be investigated to explore their potential to promote growth through VOCs emission. Until now, few researches have been conducted to decipher physiological and molecular mechanisms involved in the growth of relevant agricultural crops stimulated by bacterial volatiles. Model plants of C3 metabolism such as Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa (also an important crop) are considered important for new discoveries on the growth promotion mediated by VOCs. The main objectives of this project are to: (i)evaluate, in vitro, the potential of 21 PGPB strains to promote plant growth mediated by VOCs,(ii) identify and quantify the volatiles produced by the five best strains using the HS-GC/MS platform (iii) evaluate, in vitro, if specific VOCs in different mixtures and concentrations are able to promote plant growth, (iv) evaluate the plants physiological response (quantification of chlorophyll and plant hormones) to the VOCs produced by the five best strains, (v)validate, in vivo assays, the performance of the five best VOCs-producing strains, and (vi) test, in vivo, the two best VOCs-producing strains in two relevant Brazillian crops: sugarcane and maize. As a long-term goal, we expect to develop bioinoculants as a sustainable approach to reduce chemical supplies in crops, increase plant productivity, as well as reduce production costs.
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