Effect of Salinity Stress on Mycorrhizal Association and Growth Response of Telfairia occidentalis Hook F. infected by Glomus geosporum
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The effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Glomus geosporum) inoculation on Telfairia occidentalis grown in saline soil was investigated in a pot experiment. The experiment was laid out in a completely randomized design, with treatments replicated thrice. Standard recommended methods were used to determine photosynthetic pigments, minerals contents, biomass yield, AMF colonization and dependency. Our results show that saline soil treatment significantly (p=0.05) reduced total photosynthetic pigments contents - from 39.73 to 21.30 mg/kg, percentage AMF root colonization - from 53.97 to 22.41%, mineral contents; N - from 5.84 to 3.13%; P - 424.11 to 212.31 mg/kg; K - 3215.00 to 1220.00 mg/kg; Mg - 326.00 to 107.04 mg/kg; and Ca - 1640.00 to 813.00 mg/kg. Biomass yield of T. occidentalis was also significantly (p=0.05) reduced. In contrast, mycorrhizal dependency was significantly (p=0.05) increased in saline soil plants - from 15.13% to 100.00%. Herein, inoculation with G. geosporum significantly (p=0.05) increased total photosynthetic pigments - from 39.73 to 45.53 mg/kg; N - from 5.84 to 6.07%; P - 424.11 to 463.00 mg/kg; K - 3215.00 to 3470.12 mg/kg; Mg - 326.00 to 345.00 mg/kg and Ca -1640 to 1658.12 mg/kg; leaf dry weight - from 0.13 to 0.17g; vine dry weight - 5.21 to 5.81g; roots dry weight - 0.57 to 1.03 and total dry weight - 5.91 to 7.01g. Biomass yield was also significantly increased. R. irregularis colonization (from 22.41 to 53.97%) and mycorrhizal dependency in C. maxima was evident in both saline and non-saline soil treatments. The results of this work have shown that G. geosporum can enhance the ability of T. occidentalis to resist salt stress (possibly through several morphological/physiological changes and through improved vigour) via the extensive network of the mycorrhizal roots (which increases nutrient and water uptake). Inoculation with appropriate AMF can, therefore, be used to increase the productivity of T. occidentalis in saline soils.
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