Introduction: The sustainable production of pastures has become a fundamental challenge for the livestock sector where research with plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria as a viable solution, has nearly not been reported. Objective: In this study, we aimed to examine the potential to stimulate growth in Pennisetum clandestinum grass using four isolated bacterial strains from soils obtained from a Colombian tropical silvopastoral system. Methods: We previously identified genetically the strains and characterized two plant growth promoting activities. In addition, we evaluated the growth-promoting effect of the strains in Kikuyo grass under greenhouse conditions. Results: We found that the four bacterial strains were phylogenetically associated with Klebsiella sp. (strains 28P and 35P), Beijerinka sp. (37L) and Achromobacter xylosoxidans (E37), based on partial 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Moreover, the in vitro biochemical assays demonstrated that the strains exhibited some plant growth promoting mechanisms such as 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid deaminase activity and indole compound synthesis. Notably, bacterial inoculation under greenhouse conditions showed a positive influence on P. clandestinum growth. We found a significant (P < 0.05) effect on root and shoot length and shoot dry weight. Shoot length increased by 52 % and 30 % with 37L and 35P compared to those without inoculation treatment. Similarly, the use of 37L and 28P raised shoot dry weight values by 170 % and 131 %, respectively. In root development, inoculation with strains 37L and E37 increased root length by 134 % and 100 %, respectively. Conclusion: Beijerinckia sp. 37L was the most effective of the four strains at increasing P. clandestinum biomass and length.

Keywords: ACC deaminase, Beijerinckia sp., indole, Kikuyu grass, PGPR, rhizosphere