Uniform synthetic beads were developed as carriers for the bacterial inoculation of plants. The beads are made of sodium alginate and skim milk and contain a large reservoir of bacterial culture which releases the bacteria at a slow and constant rate. The beads are biodegradable and produce no environmental pollution. The strength of the beads, the rate of bacterial release, and the time of their survival in the soil can be controlled by several hardening treatments. The final product, lyophilized beads, is simple to use and is applied to the seeds concomitantly with sowing. The released bacteria are available for root colonization immediately at seed germination. Dry beads containing bacteria can be stored at ambient temperature over a long period without loss of bacterial content; storage requires a limited space, and the quality control of a number of bacteria in the bead is simple. The level of plant inoculation with beads was similar to that with previously used peat inoculants, but the former method yielded more consistent results, as the frequency of inoculated plants was much higher. The former method provides a different approach for inoculation of plants with beneficial rhizosphere bacteria
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