Phosphate solubilizing bacteria NBRI0603, NBRI2601, NBRI3246 and NBRI4003 were isolated from the rhizosphere of chickpea and alkaline soils. All four strains demonstrated diverse levels of phosphate solubilization activity under in vitro conditions in the presence of various carbon and nitrogen sources. Acid production may have contributed to phosphate solubilization, but was not the only reason for phosphate release into the medium. Among the four strains, NBRI2601 was the most efficient strain in terms of its capability to solubilize phosphorus in the presence of 10% salt, pH 12, or 45°C. The strains showed varied levels of phosphate solubilization when the effects of different sources of nitrogen were examined during growth. The presence of low levels of Ca2+ and EDTA in the medium enhanced phosphate solubilization. Copyright (C) 2000 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.