Methylotrophs, which can utilize methanol as a sole carbon source, are promising microorganisms to be exploited in a methanol-based bioeconomy, in which a variety of useful compounds are biotechnologically produced from natural gas-derived methanol. Pink-pigmented facultative methylotrophs (PPFMs) are common plant phyllospheric bacteria and are known to enhance seedling growth and total biomass of various plants. However, improvement of crop yield by inoculation of PPFMs at the field level has not been well investigated. We herein describe improvement of crop yield of several rice cultivars by foliar spraying of PPFMs. After selection of PPFM strains and rice cultivars by the in vitro seedling growth test, we further conducted paddy field experiments. The crop yield of the sake-brewing rice Oryza sativa cultivar Hakutsurunishiki was reproducibly improved in a commercial paddy field for over a 5-year period. A one-time foliar spray of PPFM cells (living or killed) or a cell wall polysaccharide fraction, after the heading date, acted in the phyllosphere and effectively improved crop yield. Our results show that the established process with PPFMs is feasible for improvement of food production in the methanol bioeconomy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology