Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are a sustainable crop production input; some show positive effects under laboratory conditions but poorly colonize host field-grown plants. Inoculating with PGPR in microbial growth medium (e.g., King’s B) could overcome this. We evaluated cannabis plant (cv. CBD Kush) growth promotion by inoculating three PGPR (Bacillus sp., Mucilaginibacter sp., and Pseudomonas sp.) in King’s B at vegetative and flower stages. At the vegetative stage, Mucilaginibacter sp. inoculation increased flower dry weight (24%), total CBD (11.1%), and THC (11.6%); Pseudomonas sp. increased stem (28%) dry matter, total CBD (7.2%), and THC (5.9%); and Bacillus sp. increased total THC by 4.8%. Inoculation with Mucilaginibacter sp. and Pseudomonas sp. at the flowering stage led to 23 and 18% increases in total terpene accumulation, respectively. Overall, vegetative inoculation with PGPR enhanced cannabis yield attributes and chemical profiles. Further research into PGPR inoculation onto cannabis and the subsequent level of colonization could provide key insights regarding PGPR-host interactions.
Keywords: Cannabis sativa L., cannabinoid, flower yield, microbial growth medium, plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, terpene
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