The present research was carried out to standardize the method for mass culturing the green muscardin fungus, M. anisopliae under konkan conditions under laboratory conditions during 2015-17. Study indicated that the mass multiplication of M. anisopliae on liquid / broth medium showed that the T-6 Czeapeks broth medium was the most suitable medium for mass multiplication of M. anisopliae (average mat weight of dry fungus 1554 mg), after 20 days of inoculation which was at par with T5-corn flour medium (1545.67 mg)., which also supported good growth of the fungus.
In the present study, PPFMs were isolated from phyllosphere of fourteen plants by leaf imprinting and serial dilution techniques. The fourteen isolates were characterized by morphological, biochemical and molecular methods. The PPFM isolates were screened based on the effect on germination and seedling characters of cowpea cv. CO(CP)7. PPFM inoculation enhanced the germination, seedling length, vigour index, biomass, chlorophyll and soluble protein content of cowpea. Based on this study, nine best isolates including the reference strain M. extorquens AM1 were selected for further studies. The selected PPFM isolates were screened based on plant growth hormone production. The isolates produced trans-zeatin in amounts ranging from 22.04 to 117.32 ng l-1 of culture filtrate. IAA production ranged from 0.14 to 4.69 µg ml-1 of culture filtrate in the absence of the precursor tryptophan and 0.97 to 8.32 µg ml-1 in the presence of tryptophan. All isolates could produce gibberellic acid in amounts ranging from 39.33 to 123.0 µg ml-1 of culture filtrate. The primers specific for ipt gene encoding isopentenyl transferase, the key enzyme in direct synthesis of cytokinins gave amplification in the isolate PPFM-Ph. The trans-zeatin riboside content of four best isolates (PPFM-As, PPFM-Ph, PPFM-Pt and M. extorquens AM1) as estimated by ELISA ranged from 11.22 to 37.07 ng l-1 of culture filtrate.