Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are able to increase root enzymatic activity of acid and alkaline phosphatases. However, the role of AMF on phosphatase activity has not been reported in papaya (Carica papaya L.), which is frequently established at places with soil phosphorus (P) deficiencies. The goals of this research were to determine the effect of Glomus claroideum (Gc), and plant growth promoting rhizobacterium Azospirillum brasilense strain VS7 [Ab]) on root phosphatase activity and seedling growth of Carica papaya L. cv. Red Maradol under low P conditions. There were four treatments-colonization with: 1) Gc, 2) Ab, 3) Gc+Ab, and 4) non-inoculated seedlings. Plants were established in a coarse sand:sandy loam substrate under P-limitation (11 microg P ml(-1)), supplied with a modified Long Ashton Nutrient Solution. Seedling growth was severely reduced by low P. Gc+Ab inoculated plants had greater total dry matter and leaf area than non-colonized plants. Gc-inoculated plants had greater leaf area than non-colonized plants. Treatments did not differ in leaf area ratio, specific leaf area and, total chlorophyll content. There was a non-significant effect on stem relative growth rate with Gc and Gc+Ab plants. Mycorrhizal colonization enhanced the bacterial population 3.4-fold in the Gc+Ab treatment compared with the population quantified in Ab treatment. Soluble and extractable root acid phosphatase activity (RAPA) was higher in Gc inoculated plants. We discussed on the possible relation among both inoculated microorganisms and also with the P-limitation which plants were established.