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Aims: Santalum album L., known as sandalwood plant (white sandal) belongs to the family Santalaceae, is characteristically a hemi-parasite that requires host plant in the early stages for the better growth and development. Besides its extreme economic importance, significant work has not been done to reveal the relationship of beneficial microorganisms with these plants for their better growth and development. Present investigation is an attempt to isolate and characterize the rhizospheric soil bacteria of Santalum album L. occurring in some areas of Bankura district of West Bengal, India.
Methodology: The microbial colonies in the soils were estimated as colony forming units (cfu/g dr.soil) from plates prepared by different medium. Phenotypic, biochemical and molecular characters of the bacteria were studied following standard methods. The physico-chemical parameters, and microbial population was determined on the rhizospheric soil of the hemiparasitic sandalwood plant Santalum album Linn. occurring at four locations of Bankura district in West Bengal, India.
Results: The population diversity of cultivable heterotrophic, Gram negative, nitrifying, phosphate solubilizing, starch hydrolyzing, spore forming bacteria were higher at Hirbandh with higher organic carbon level than other three locations. Bacterial population was comparatively lower in Basudevpur due to lower water holding capacity. One spore forming bacterium (SW1) was isolated from Hirbandh soil. The isolate (SW1) was characterized by phenotypic properties, scanning electron microscopy, biochemical properties, analysis of fatty acid methyl esters and 16S rRNA gene sequence and identified as Bacillus cereus (KT626448) which branched with Bacillus cereus BSFN12r (KM405329) with 100% bootstrap support.
Conclusion: Present investigation is an attempt to isolate and characterize the rhizospheric soil bacteria from economically important plant Santalum album L. Further studies may find out the positive role of the symbiotic association of Bacillus cereus (SW1) with the root of S. album as a key factor for the better growth and development of this economically important plant occurring in Bankura district, West Bengal, India.