Bacteria were isolated and screened for cellulase activities in agricultural soil of Patiala (India). Three most efficient cellulose degraders identified using 16S rDNA, as Serratia sp., Pseudomonas sp. and Serratia marcescens showed cellulase activity of 3.83, 4.21 and 4.52 mM glucose ml-1 h-1 respectively. . Enterobacteriaceae Repetitive Intergenic Consensus Polymerase Chain Reaction (ERIC-PCR) was performed to obtain fingerprint and showed clear genetic variability among all three isolates. The bacteria were mass cultured and re-inoculated in soils to study the population dynamics under chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) cultivation. The role of cellulose degrading bacteria was studied in sustainability of soil and organic carbon indicating good survival of 40.2, 34.4 and 56.8 % of the introduced strains respectively. The highly positive correlation (R2=0.916) among the soil cellulase activity and soil organic carbon was observed during the chickpea plot trails towards inoculated bacterial strains.
Agricultural soils, Chickpea, Cellulase, Pseudomonas, Serratia, ERIC-PCR
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