With two rice genotypes (cv. Zhongbu 51 and Azucena) differing in their root-secreted acid phosphatase activity (APA) under low P condition as test materials, an agar culture experiment was conducted to investigate their P utilization from myo-inositol hexaphosphate (IHP) under conditions of sterilization and inoculating with soil microorganisms. Under sterilization, the shoot dry mass, P absorption and P concentration of test genotypes supplied with hexaphosphate (IHP) as the P source were significantly higher than those with no P supply, but significantly lower than those supplied with inorganic P, indicating that rice plants could partly acquire P from IHP under sterilized condition. The root-secreted APA of the two genotypes was significantly higher under low P than under sufficient P supply, and the higher APA of Zhongbu 51 under low P could be one of the mechanisms of higher P utilization capability of Zhongbu 51 than Azucena under deficient P supply. When supplied with high level IHP (0.96 mmol P x L(-1)), the shoot dry mass, P absorption and P concentration of both Zhongbu 51 and Azucena were higher than those when supplied with low level IHP (0.16 mmol P x L(-1)), indicating that substrate availability could be one of the limiting factors to the utilization of phytate by rice. Inoculation with soil microorganisms had no significant effects on the shoot dry mass, P absorption and P concentration of rice plants, regardless of IHP level and rice genotypes, implying that the utilization of IHP by rice could not be improved via inoculation with soil microorganisms.