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Comparative effectiveness of different Rhizobium sp. for improving growth and yield of maize (Zea mays L.)

Author(s): Ijaz Mehboob, Zahir Ahmad Zahir, Muhammad Arshad, Muhammad Khalid | Asif Tanveer

Journal: Soil & Environment
ISSN 2074-9546

Volume: 31;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 37;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Rhizobium phaseoli | Mesorhizobium ciceri | Rhizobium leguminosarum | growth | yield | maize

During the last couple of decades, it has been demonstrated that rhizobia can associate with roots of non-legumes also without forming true nodules, and can promote their growth by using one or more of the direct or indirect mechanisms of actions. This work examines the growth and yield responses of maize to inoculation with different species of rhizobia, isolated from the root nodules of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.), lentil (Lens culinaris M.) and mung bean (Vigna radiata L.) in pots and fields. Twenty isolates of rhizobia were isolated from root nodules each of mung bean, lentil and chickpea and were screened under axenic conditions. On the basis of their promising performance under axenic conditions, nine most efficient isolates (three from each legume host) were selected, characterized and further evaluated for their growth promoting activities by conducting pot and field experiments. Results of pot experiment revealed that maximum increase in grain yield, 1000 grain weight, N, P and K uptake (up to 47.89, 54.52, 73.46, 84.66 and 59.19% by CRI28, respectively, over un-inoculated control) was produced by the isolate of Mesorhizobium ciceri. Whereas, maximum improvement in rest of the parameters was caused by the isolates of Rhizobium phaseoli (i.e. fresh biomass, straw yield and root length up to 36.30% by A18, 25.46% by S6 and 81.89% by A18, respectively over un-inoculated control). Rhizobium leguminosarum isolates came out to be the least effective among the species tested. Similarly, all the selected isolates improved the growth and yield attributing parameters in fields as well but with varying capacity compared with un-inoculated control. The selected isolates of Mesorhizobium ciceri and Rhizobium phaseoli again remained superior compared to the isolates of Rhizobium leguminosarum under field conditions. The results of this study imply that rhizobium species had potential to promote growth and yield of maize but this technology should be employed after appropriate site specific investigations of particular rhizobial specie with respect to specific non-leguminous crop variety to get maximum benefit in terms of better growth and yield.
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