Impact of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on the growth and rhizobium symbioses development in kabuli and desi chickpeas grown under drought stress conditions
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) have induced drought tolerance in several plants and could increase chickpea yield under semiarid climates. Desi chickpea are more drought tolerant than Kabuli suggesting a weak mycorrhizal symbiosis in this chickpea type. A greenhouse experiment was conducted to assess the extent and the impact of arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis on the growth and yield in Kabuli and Desi chickpea cultivars under well watered and drought stress conditions and on their association with Mesorhizobium cicer. The experiment had a split-plot design with two water levels, 30% of field capacity (deficient water) and 70% of field capacity (sufficient water) randomized in main plots. Two inoculation treatments, M. cicer + AMF and M. cicer only, were applied to chickpea (Kabuli, CDC Frontier and CDC Xena; Desi, CDC Anna, and CDC Nika). The factorial combinations of inoculation and cultivar were randomized in the subplots. There were four repetitions. One set of plants was harvested at the time of symbioses development and another set was harvested at seed maturation. The data was analyzed with ANOVA. Results indicated that the Kabuli and Desi chickpea mycorrhizal symbioses are not different, as indicated by the absence of a cultivar by inoculation interaction on shoot and root growth, nodulation and nitrogen fixation. AM Fungi inoculation delayed nodule development but had no effect on grain yield. CDC Frontier had 4 times more nodules and 6 times more nitrogenase activity than CDC Anna, Nika and Xena.
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