Improvement in soil characteristics of sandy loam soil and grain quality of spring maize by using phosphorus solublizing bacteria

Hafiz Muhammad Rashad Javeed*, Rafi Qamar, Atique Ur Rehman, Mazhar Ali, Abdul Rehman, Muhammad Farooq, Shahid Ibni Zamir, Muhammad Nadeem, Mumtaz Akhtar Cheema, Muhammad Shehzad, Ali Zakir, Muhammad Aqeel Sarwar, Akhtar Iqbal, Muhammad Hussain

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Unavailability of balanced nutrients in nutrient-deficient soils is the key reason in reduced yields of spring maize. After application to soil, most of the phosphorus (80–90%) is lost in the environment because of runoff losses and chemically bonding. So, this makes the phosphorus unavailable for plant use. However, soil microorganisms may provide a biological rescue system which is able to solubilize the soil-bound phosphorus (p). Keeping this in view, the present study is designed to meet the following objectives; (1) to improve physico-chemical properties of soil (e.g., soil water retention, soil enzyme activities), and (2) to improve growth and yield of spring maize (cv. Hybrid YSM-112) through the inoculation of phosphorus solubilization bacteria (PSB). A pot experiment was carried out with the following treatments; T1: control (uninoculated control, CT), T2: inoculation with PSB (Enterobacter sakazakii J129), T3: recommend level of NPK fertilizers (RNPK), T4: PSB + RNPK fertilizers, T5: rock phosphate (RP), T6: PSB + RP. Results showed that the addition of PSB together with RNPK improved the yield and yield-related characteristics of spring maize grown in sandy soil. Moreover, it also enhanced dry mater characteristics and maize grain quality. Soil fertility in the context of P-solubilization, soil organic acids, soil organic matter, enzyme activities, PSB colony, and rhizosphere moisture contents were significantly improved with PSB inoculation together with recommended dose of NPK fertilizers (RNPK) compared to PSB alone, rock phosphate (RP) alone, or PSB together with rock phosphate and control treatment. Maize digestibility attributes such as DM, CP, CF, EE (by 35%, 20%, 33%, and 28% respectively) and grain quality such as NPK, Mg, Ca, Fe, Mn, Cu, and Zn (by 88%, 92%, 71%, 68%, 78%, 90%, 83, 69%, 92%, 48%, and 90% respectively) were improved compared to control. In conclusion, improvement in maize crop yield and soil characteristics are more prominent and significant when RNPK is supplemented and inoculated. The present study suggests that PSB, together with RNPK, would improve the maize plant growth and soil fertility in sandy soil.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7049
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Maize grain yield
  • Phosphobacteria
  • Phosphorus uptake
  • Sandy soil
  • Water retention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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