Saturday, 15 July 2006

Horticultural Crop Biofertilization with Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi.

Cabrera A. Rodriguez Sr., Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Agricolas, Carretera Tapaste San Jose km 3 1/2, San Jose de las Lajas, CT 32 700, Cuba

The economic and ecological problems of today's world have revitalized the idea of using biofertilizers as an alternative to reduce the application of environmentally-polluting mineral fertilizers to a minimum. The present work was carried out under the greenhouse conditions of the National Institute of Agricultural Sciences, pertaining to the Ministry of Higher Education of Cuba, on a compacted eutric Red Ferralitic soil, with the aim of evaluating the effectiveness of applying arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on the growth, development and yield of some horticultural species, such as lettuce, cucumber and tomato. Therefore, Glomus fasciculatum strain was applied by a solid carrier at a dose of 10 g/plant and through a liquid carrier at different concentrations varying from 10 up to 25 spores/plant. Treatments were arranged in a randomized complete design with five and 10 repetitions. Plant height, leaf number, nutrient extraction by air biomass, yield and its components, as well as fungal indicators corresponding to colonization percentage, endophyte mass and total spore number were the evaluated variables. Results proved a positive influence of biofertilization on lettuce plant growth, development and yield. When both the solid and liquid biofertilizers were applied, their colonization and efficiency became higher, which enabled plants to extract a bigger amount of N, P, K, Ca and Mg, so increasing yield. Regarding the cucumber and tomato fertilized following the recommended patterns, biofertilized plant yields were higher, from 60 to more than 100 %, compared to mineral fertilization. Economically speaking, it was feasible to use either solid or liquid biofertilizer for horticultural species production under protected crop conditions.

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