- (1) University of Copenhagen, grid.5254.6, KU
- (2) Sino-Danish Centre for Education and Research, grid.484648.2
- (3) University of Agriculture Faisalabad, grid.413016.1
- (4) COMSATS University Islamabad, grid.418920.6
Quinoa is a facultative halophytic seed crop of increasing interest worldwide. Its performance declines under high salinity but can be improved by using halotolerant plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) containing multi-traits, i.e. ACC-deaminase activity, exopolysaccharide secretion and auxin production. This study focussed on improving the productivity of quinoa through the use of six plant growth-promoting bacterial strains (both endophytic and rhizosphere). These were screened by conducting osmoadaptation assay, and the two most halotolerant strains (Enterobacter sp. (MN17) and Bacillus sp. (MN54)) were selected. These two strains were evaluated for their effects on growth, physiological characters and yield of quinoa. At the five leaf stage plants were irrigated with saline water having either 0 or 400mM NaCl. The results indicated that saline irrigation significantly decreased the growth of quinoa, whereas inoculation of plants with MN17 and MN54 mitigated the negative effects of salinity by improving plant water relations and decreasing Na+ uptake, which consequently, reduced osmotic and ionic stress. Strain MN54 performed better than MN17, which might be because of its better growth promoting traits and higher rhizosphere colonisation efficiency than MN17. Our results suggest that growth and productivity of quinoa could be improved by inoculating with highly tolerant PGPB strain in salt-affected soils.