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Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3286;

Effects of Field Inoculation with VAM and Bacteria Consortia on Root Growth and Nutrients Uptake in Common Wheat

Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and the Environment, University of Padua, 35020 Legnaro-Padua, Italy
Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability, University of Parma, 43124 Parma, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 27 August 2018 / Accepted: 11 September 2018 / Published: 14 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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This study investigated the effects of a commercial biofertilizer containing the mycorrhizal fungus Rhizophagus irregularis and the diazotrophic N-fixing bacterium Azotobacter vinelandii on root and shoot growth, yield, and nutrient uptake in common wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) in order to improve the sustainable cultivation of this widespread crop. The trials were carried out in controlled conditions (rhizoboxes) and in open fields over two years to investigate the interaction between inoculation and three doses of nitrogen fertilization (160, 120 and 80 kg ha−1) in a silty-loam soil of the Po Plain (NE Italy). In rhizoboxes, efficient root colonization by R. irregularis was observed at 50 days after sowing with seed inoculation, together with improved root tip density and branching (+~30% vs. controls), while the effects of post-emergence inoculation by soil and foliar spraying were not observable at plant sampling. In the open, field spraying at end tillering significantly increased the volumetric root length density (RLD, +22% vs. controls) and root area density (+18%) after about two months (flowering stage) in both years under medium and high N fertilization doses, but not at the lowest N dose. In absence of inoculation, RLD progressively decreased with increased N doses. Inoculation had a negligible effect on grain yield and N uptake, which followed a typical N dose-response model, while straw Zn, P, and K concentrations were seldom improved. It is concluded that medium-high N fertilization doses are required to achieve the target yield and standards of quality (protein contents) in wheat cultivation, while the use of this mixed VAM-PGPR biofertilizer appears to be a sustainable mean for minimizing the adverse effects of chemical N fertilizers on root expansion and for improving the uptake of low-mobility nutrients, which has potentially relevant environmental benefits. View Full-Text
Keywords: biofertilizer; Rhizophagus irregularis; Azotobacter vinelandii; nitrogen fertilization; root patterns biofertilizer; Rhizophagus irregularis; Azotobacter vinelandii; nitrogen fertilization; root patterns

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Dal Cortivo, C.; Barion, G.; Ferrari, M.; Visioli, G.; Dramis, L.; Panozzo, A.; Vamerali, T. Effects of Field Inoculation with VAM and Bacteria Consortia on Root Growth and Nutrients Uptake in Common Wheat. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3286.

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