Planta Med 2008; 74(10): 1316-1320
DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1081293
Analytical Studies
Original Paper
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Bacillus subtilis FZB24® Affects Flower Quantity and Quality of Saffron (Crocus sativus)

Mahmoud Sharaf-Eldin1 , 5 , Shereen Elkholy2 , 5 , José-Antonio Fernández3 , Helmut Junge4 , Ronald Cheetham5 , José Guardiola6 , Pamela Weathers5 , 7
  • 1Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Dept., National Research Centre (NRC), Cairo, Egypt
  • 2Plant Transformation and Biopharmaceuticals Lab, Agricultural Genetic Engineering Research Institute (AGERI), Agricultural Research Centre (ARC), Giza, Egypt
  • 3School of Agronomy (ETSIA) & Group of Biotechnology (IDR), University of Castilla-La Mancha, Campus Universitario s/n, Albacete, Spain
  • 4ABiTEP GmbH, Berlin, Germany
  • 5Department of Biology and Biotechnology, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Worcester, MA, USA
  • 6School of Agricultural Engineering, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
  • 7Arkansas Bioscience Institute, Arkansas State University, State University, AR, USA
Further Information

Publication History

Received: February 18, 2008 Revised: May 22, 2008

Accepted: May 23, 2008

Publication Date:
11 July 2008 (eFirst)


The effect of Bacillus subtilis FZB24® on saffron (Crocus sativus L.) was studied using saffron corms from Spain and the powdered form of B. subtilis FZB24®. Corms were soaked in water or in B. subtilis FZB24 spore solution for 15 min before sowing. Some corms were further soil drenched with the spore solution 6, 10 or 14 weeks after sowing. Growth and saffron stigma chemical composition were measured. Compared to untreated controls, application of B. subtilis FZB24 significantly increased leaf length, flowers per corm, weight of the first flower stigma, total stigma biomass; microbe addition also significantly decreased the time required for corms to sprout and the number of shoot sprouts. Compared to the controls, picrocrocin, crocetin and safranal compounds were significantly increased when the plants were soil drenched with the spore solution 14 weeks after sowing; in contrast crocin was highest in untreated controls. Results of this study suggest that application of B. subtilis FZB24® may provide some benefit to saffron growers by speeding corm growth (earlier shoot emergence) and increasing stigma biomass yield by 12 %. While some treatment conditions also increased saffron chemical composition, these were generally not the same treatments that simultaneously improved growth yields and thus, more study is required.


Dr. Mahmoud Sharaf-Eldin

Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Deptartment

National Research Centre (NRC)

33 Elbehoth St.


Cairo – 12622


Phone: +202/3337/1499

Fax: +202/3337/0931