Field based assessment of Capsicum annuum performance with inoculation of rhizobacterial consortia

Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are associated with plant roots and augment plant productivity and immunity by reducing fertilizer application rates and nutrient runoff. Studies were conducted to evaluate bell pepper transplants amended with formulation of consortium of two indigenous PGPR isolates (Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus pumilus) in terms of increase in yield and disease resistance under field conditions. Transplants were planted into plots treated by NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), fungicides, soil solarization, MeBr fumigation, PGPR and untreated soil. Treatments were assessed for incidence of soil-borne phytopathogens viz. Phytophthora capsici and Colletotrichum sp. Highly significant increases in bell pepper transplant growth occurred in response to formulations of PGPR isolates. Transplant vigor and survival in the field were also improved by PGPR treatments. Consortium of Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus pumilus reduced disease incidence of damping off by 1.81% and anthracnose by 1.75%. Numbers of colony forming units of Phytophthora capsici and Colletotrichum sp. were significantly higher in all plots than those treated with PGPR consortium. Incidence of seed rot and seedling blight on bell pepper was significantly lower in PGPR-treated plots and highest in untreated plots. Total fruit yield of bell pepper increased by 379.36% with PGPR consortium (Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus pumilus).