The study aimed to investigate the effects of commercially available AMF inoculate (Glomus
sp. mixture) on the growth and the nutrient acquisition in tomato (Solanumlycopersicum
L.) plants directly after transplanting and under different levels of salinity. Inoculated (AMF+) and non-inoculated (AMF−) tomato plants were subjected to three levels of NaCl salinity (0, 50, and 100 mM·NaCl). Seven days after transplanting, plants were analyzed for dry matter and RGR of whole plants and root systems. Leaf tissue was analyzed for mineral concentration before and after transplanting; leaf nutrient content and relative uptake rates (RUR) were calculated. AMF inoculation did not affect plant dry matter or RGR under fresh water-irrigation. The growth rate of AMF−plants did significantly decline under both moderate (77%) and severe (61%) salt stress compared to the fresh water-irrigated controls, while the decline was much less (88% and 75%,respectively)and statistically non-significant in salt-stressed AMF+ plants. Interestingly, root system dry matter of AMF+ plants (0.098 g plant–1
) remained significantly greater under severe soil salinity compared to non-inoculated seedlings (0.082 g plant–1
). The relative uptake rates of N, P, Mg, Ca, Mn, and Fe were enhanced in inoculated tomato seedlings and remained higher under (moderate) salt stress compared to AMF− plants This study suggests that inoculation with commercial AMF during nursery establishment contributes to alleviation of salt stress by maintaining a favorable nutrient profile. Therefore, nursery inoculation seems to be a viable solution to attenuate the effects of increasing soil salinity levels, especially in greenhouses with low natural abundance of AMF spores.
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