American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences 4 (3): 255-261, 2009 ISSN 1557-4989 © 2009 Science Publications

Response of Spring Safflower to Co-Inoculation with Azotobacter chroococum and Glomus intraradices Under Different Levels of Nitrogen and Phosphorus

M. Mirzakhani, 2M.R. Ardakani, 3A. Aeene Band, 4F. Rejali and 5A.H. Shirani Rad Department of Agronomy, Islamic Azad University, Research and Science Branch, Ahvaz, Iran 2 Agriculture Research Center, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch, Iran 3 Department of Agronomy and Plant Breeding, Shahid Chamran University, Ahvaz, Iran 4 Department of Soil Biology, Soil and Water Research Institute, Tehran, Iran 5 Department of Oil Seed Crops, Seed and Plant Improvement Institute, Karaj, Iran
Abstract: Problem statement: In order to evaluate the effects of co-inoculation of Azotobacter and Mycorrhiza with nitrogen and phosphorus levels on yield and yield components of spring safflower, this study was carried out in the experimental field of Farahan University in Markazi province- Iran in 2006. Approach: A factorial experiment in the form of complete randomized block design with three replications has been used. Inoculation of Azotobacter (without and with inoculation by Azotobacter chroococum) and Mycorrhiza (without and with inoculation by Glomus intraradices) under different levels of nitrogen and phosphorus levels [F0 = N0+P0(kg ha−1), F1 = N50+P25(kg ha−1), F2 = N100+P50(kg ha−1) and F3 = N150+P75(kg ha−1)] on spring safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.-cv. IL111) have been studied. Results: In this study some characteristics such as: Harvest index, hectolitre weight, root dry weight, seed yield, mycorrhizal root colonization, number of days to maturity were assessed. Results indicated that treatment (A1M1F2) with average grain yield 1239 (kg ha−1) and treatment (A0M1F0) with average grain yield 723.7 (kg ha−1) were significantly higher than other treatments. Seed inoculation at the planting date with Azotobacter and Mycorrhiza caused increasing grain yield about 6.13% in compare with control treatment. Conclusion: Seed yield and yield components of safflower have been affected significantly by the inoculation with Azotobacter and Mycorrhiza, because these biofertilizers can fix atmospheric nitrogen and increase phosphorus availability in soil and enhanced absorb elements by safflower. Key words: Spring safflower, Azotobacter and Mycorrhiza INTRODUCTION flavoring agent, for vegetable oils and also for preparing textile dye in the Far East, central and northern Asia and European Caucasian[13]. It has also received considerable interest recently as forage plant[18]. Particularly, consumers have demanded healthier oils, naturally low in saturated fat such as olive, safflower, canola and sunflower oils. The seeds contain 35-50% oil, 15-20% protein and 35-45% hull fraction[28]. Most of the experiments have indicated that biofertilizers can play a major role on a soil with poor fertility that safflower could be grown on it[17]. Although biofertilizers and other alternatives are considered with suspicion by grown-promoting rhizobacteria and arbuscular mycorrhiza are known to be essential symbiosis without which the vast majority of plants could not survive in soils with normal levels of available phosphorus and nitrogen.


The excessive use of chemical fertilizers have generated several environmental problems. Some of these problems can be tackled by use of biofertilizers, which are natural, beneficial and ecologically friendly. The biofertilizers provide nutrients to the plants and maintain soil structure. In Iran, the main oil seed crops are canola, sunflower, soybean and cotton, nevertheless safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) is one of the native plants and farmers don’t produce safflower in a large scale because it does not have high grain yield and with a low oil content. However, safflower can be a potential oilseed crops for lowrainfall areas such as Iran. Safflower has been grown for centuries, primarily for its colorful petals to use as a food coloring and

Corresponding Author: Mohammad Reza Ardakani, Agriculture Research Center, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch, P.O. Box 31485-313 Karaj, Iran


Other elements such as Zn and Cu can also not flow freely in soil[19]. is a gram negative bacteria. Before sowing. Free living prokaryotes with the ability to fix atmospheric di-nitrogen (diazotrophs) are ubiquitous in the soil. It can be applied through chemicals or biological resources. 40°41`E Long. The estimated contribution of free-living Nfixing prokaryotes to the N input of soil ranges from 060 kg ha−1 year−1[8]. total N[25] and the concentration of available P (sodium bicarbonate extraction method[26]). Azotobacter sp. Agri. Sci. biological and other characters. metabolism and protective adaptation of host plants in the drought stress condition. They also produce polysachharides. These are free living bacteria which grow well on a nitrogen free medium. emission spectrophotometry[16]). 4 (3): 255-261. Besides. hyphae are also important ways of P transported in the soil. Vesicular-Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (VAM) was able to alter water relation of its host plants and effects of VAM on morphology. Major cellular.22. MATERIALS AND METHODS This experiment was conducted in experimental field of Islamic Azad University. structural and functional constituents have essential and often highly specific requirements for N2. were determined (Table 1).. thiamin. The symbiosis of 256 Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (AM) with host plant and hence.Am. Mycorrhizal symbiosis is actually a specialized network of hypha. These bacteria utilize atmospheric nitrogen gas for their cell protein synthesis[14]. The mechanisms of VAM effect to enhance resistance of drought stress in host plant may include many possible aspects: (1) VAM improves the properties of soil in rhizosphere (2) VAM enlarges root areas of host plants and improves its efficiency of water absorption (3) VAM enhances the absorption of P and other nutritional elements and then improves nutritional status of host plant (4) VAM activates defense system of host plant (5) VAM protects against oxidative damage generated by drought and (6) VAM affects the expression of genetic material[30]. . Nitrogen is a fundamentally important element in biologically mediated production and nutrient cycling processes. but it is often fixed in soil and not available to plant.21. so also it controls plant diseases due to above substances produced by Azotobacter[15]. enhancing the uptake and translocation of nutrients to the plant. compared with plant roots[20] especially under stress condition[11. There is a great correlation between nutritional status of plant and its drought resistance. P concentrations themselves may affect host water balance. fixes atmospheric nitrogen in the plant rhizosphere. Specifically. nitrogen fixation. improves plant nutrient uptake and photosynthesis in the host plant[2]. Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) is one of the most important microbes of soil that form symbiotic associations with most of the terrestrial plants on the earth. but chemical nitrogen fertilizers are expensive.. Azotobacter also produces. Azotobacter is used as a biofertilizer in the cultivation of most crops. height from sea level) in Markazi province. At the same time. seed germination is improved to a considerable extent. The cyst germinates under favorable conditions to give vegetative cells. some strains have higher nitrogen fixing ability than others[8]. Old population of bacteria includes encapsulated forms and have enhanced resistant to heat. available K(flame photometer method. 2009 Nitrogen is a major limiting nutrient for crop production. combined soil samples from 0-30 and 30-60 cm depth were collected and their physical and chemical properties were analyzed. they are of different sizes and shapes. desiccation and adverse conditions. J. This experiment designed to evaluate the effects of coinoculation of Azotobacter and Mycorrhiza with different nitrogen and phosphorus levels on yield and yield components of spring safflower. while VAM changed the nutritional status of its host plant. biological N2 fixation is most important source of nitrogen. 1779 m. The capacity for nitrogen fixation is widespread among bacteria. which can be used by plant freely. When Azotobacter is applied to seeds. Azotobacter naturally.Iran in spring of 2006. N2 containing constituents of organic molecules often confer bioactivity to these molecules. But our knowledge of their ecological importance and their diversity remains incomplete. These fungi are chiefly responsible for Phosphorus (P) uptake. our test included determination of soil texture using the hygrometry method[14].29]. There are different strains of Azotobacter each has varied chemical. & Biol.. Phosphatase produced by VAM fungi play an important role in changing fixed or insoluble into soluble P.e. which include the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen by converting it to ammonia. However.Farahan Branch (34°30`N. polymorphic i. riboflavin. Azotobacter is an obligate aerobic diazotrophic soildwelling organism with a wide variety of metabolic capabilities. indole acetic acid and gibberellins. Many experiments have indicated that VAM were able to alter water relations and played a great role in the growth of host plant in the drought stress condition[5]. the production of a very extensive network of hypha. In natural ecosystems.

the results of correlation coefficients between traits show that grain yield has a positive and significant correlation with root dry weight and mycorrhizal colonization at 1 and 5% probability levels. Maximum grain yield (1183 kg ha−1) obtained when fertilizer was applied 100 and 50 (kg ha−1) N and P respectively in compared with control treatment (762. respectively (Table 3). 25. Interaction effect of inoculums and mineral fertilizer was also statistically significant. IL-111).33%) as compared to control plants (A0M0F0). number of days to maturity. The interaction effect of inoculum. 5 m long with 50 cm spaced between rows and 5 cm distance between plants on the rows. The plants were thinned after complete emergence in the 6 leaf stage as keeping on rows about 5 cm.00%) was recorded from N and P applied 00 (kg ha−1) which was comparable with N and P applied 150-75 (kg ha−1) treatment (12. . Triple superphosphate (0.00 Available P (ppm) 9.58%).7 kg ha−1.00 Available K (ppm) 390. 4 (3): 255-261. but Mycorrhiza inoculation had not significant influence. The data (Table 2) indicated Azotobacter inoculation significantly increased grain yield of safflower (6.Am. Combined application of nitrogen and phosphorus levels had significant effect on grain yield. & Biol. In harvest stage.77%.4 kg ha−1). significantly. One of benefit effects of mycorrhiza is on plants photosynthesis. 2009 Table 1: Physical and chemical characteristics of soil Soil texture Loam Clay (%) 25. 50 and 75 kgP2O5 ha−1) was spread at sowing time. Agri. A0M0F3 was more successful than other treatments to transport of assimilate from sources to plant sinks and had highest harvest index.90 Depth (cm) 30-0 Loam 200-300 10-15 0. root dry weight.79%) on mycorrhizal colonization percent. harvest index. Highest and lowest harvest index obtained in A0M0F3 with average 28. VAM plants often display higher rate of photosynthesis which is consistent with VAM effects on stomatal conductance. Therefore. It was broadcasted to the plots meanwhile. Mycorrhiza inoculum had significant effect (10. root dry weight and mycorrhizal root colonization. 50.30 Total N (%) 0. Treatments were included three agent: Azotobacter (without and with inoculation by Azotobacter chorococum with population 108 number per each ml.0 10. Maximum mycorrhizal colonization percent (27. Sci. oil content and grain yield were assessed.53%) in compared to treatments without 0.0< 6. It has been proved that concentration of chlorophyll in VAM plants was higher than their control plants. Azotobacter could proper part of nitrogen for feed plants in the rhizosphere. but chemical fertilizers decreased mycorrhizal colonization percent. harvest index.00 Sand (%) 43. hectolitre weight. oil content. oil percent.5-7. Plant density was 40 seed m−2. In other word. respectively. The data (Table 4) further indicated that A0M1F2 significantly increased mycorrhizal colonization (28.-cv. Each plot consisted 4 rows. root dry weight. Grain yield in each plot measured with 14% humidity.1> >1. F2 = N100+P50 (kg ha−1) and F3 = N150+P75(kg ha−1)] on spring safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L. RESULTS Results from the present study indicate that grain yield have been affected significantly by the inoculation with Azotobacter.5 2. Ten plants from the middle of each plot were harvested. mycorrhizal root colonization percent. the two middle rows were used for sampling and measured parameters such as: hectoliter weight. Also. J. Mycorrhiza (without and with inoculation by Glomus intraradices with population 250-300 active spores for each planted seed and used combination of different rate of nitrogen and phosphorus in 4 levels: [F0 = N0+P0(kg ha−1). Therefore it can produce larger grains and enhance economical yield. respectively and a negative signification with days to maturity at 1% probability level (Table 5). mycorrhizal root colonization and number of days to maturity at 1 and 5% probability level on hectoliter weight. F1 = N50+P25 (kg ha−1).05 Organic carbon (%) 0.39 TNV 10. N and P was significant.00 Silt (%) 32. 100 and 150 kgN ha−1) was used. Urea (0. Final harvest was performed at physiological maturity stage when a black layer was formed at seed base. Similar results have been observed by Anjum[3].60 −1 EC Mmos.. roots length.10 pH 7. But mycorrhiza could affect significantly on characters 257 such as.0< Optimum The experimental design was a factorial arrangement in the form of randomized complete block design with three replications. Mean comparisons of treatments were conducted using Duncan’s Multiple Range Test[31]. Most of the researchers suggested that VAM symbiosis increased the photosynthesis and increase the rates of photosynthetic storage and export at the same time[5].73% and A1M0F1 with average 22. N-fertilization also significantly influenced the seed safflower yield. highest and lowest grain yield obtained in A1M1F2 with average 1239 kg ha−1 and A0M1F0 with average 723.

58b 51.88a 3.30 54.3c M1F3 Means which have at least one common letter are not significantly different at the 5% level using (DMRT) Table 4: Mean comparison threefold interaction effects of co-inoculation of Azotobacter and Mycorrhiza under nitrogen and phosphorus levels on harvest index.0b 24.99e 769. hectoliter weight.13bc 3.76a 51.67bc 110.0cd 28.100 L−1) weight (g) (kg ha−1) colonization (%) maturity A0M0 25.08a 110.78 1171.20a 3.00bc 109.5c 26.3bc A0M0F2 23.33b 109.67a-c 1035.28b-e 1115.3d 28.03 51.7f 31.77c 3.0 13.7bc A0M0F3 28.0 20.0a a a a a a 25.0b 14. 4 (3): 255-261.38b 108.17a 109.83ab 3.77a-c 4.17a-c 4.78ab 943.3e 25.69a 54.3b 21.10a 52.17b 108.0 38.17bc 3.0b 11.67ab 53.03a 1220.66ab 979.57a 989.23a 3.0c ab ab e f ab A0M1F0 28. grain yield.5a A1F1 25.38 50.83ab 108.68 1023.80 3.0a 20.36a 3.67gh 108.11a 1239.4bc 25.7c M0F1 M0F2 25. mycorrhizal colonization and days to maturity Harvest Hectoliter weight Root dry Grain yield Mycorrhizal Days to Treatment index(%) (kg.100 L−1) weight (g) (kg ha−1) colonization (%) maturity A0M0F0 23.88a 109.73a 3.7bc A1M1F0 26.80c-e 48.2a 25.23b 51.33de 108.0f 20.83 110.7b b ab ab a cd A1F3 25.33c 108.35cd 3.71a 1051.9a M1 26. root dry weight.51b 1028.33 108.48ab 52.67i 108.96a 1135.100 L−1) weight (g) (kg ha−1) colonization (%) maturity A0 26. grain yield.0c a-c a-c a a-c fg A1M0F2 27.60a-d 1208.5b 26.3bc A1M1F2 25.0bc M1F2 26.57a-c 3.97d 3.90b 52.47ab 52.0a 10.1a A1 M0 24.95ab 1092.83c 109.63ab 3.98bc 3.98a 52.3a A0M1F1 24.07a 53.47 3.3 25.0b b a c c b A1F0 25.0a A1M1F1 28.53de 52.54b 993.10 52.7a A0F0 A0F1 25.0c A0M1F2 A0M1F3 27.0a 25.05bc 50.65 1054.60ab 49.16c-e 763.0de 9.94a 1063.03c 53.30 1043.0 23.0b 26.58a 53.0 27.56b 3.7bc A1M0F3 24.77e 51. Sci.0a A1M0 24.00 108.48ab 52.3e 27.07d 766.73b-d 3. hectoliter weight. 2009 Table 2: Mean comparison of main effects of co-inoculation by Azotobacter and Mycorrhiza under nitrogen and phosphorus levels on harvest index.08 109.5e 25.06c 743.33hi 108.17b 50. mycorrhizal colonization and days to maturity Harvest Hectoliter weight Root dry Grain yield Mycorrhizal Days to Treatment index(%) (kg.0ab 15.62 3.60c-e 54.53b-e 52.37ab 3.0b-d 12.0de 31.0a 22..25b 108.0bc 10.73a-c 989.82ab 1054.55a 3. hectoliter weight. grain yield. root dry weight.73a 53.08bc 3.53c-e 54.0b 16.40ab 51.7b M0F0 24.90c 3.0ab e a-c b-e de ef A0M0F1 23.33b 110.7bc a-c ab a ab a 27.73a 52.00bc 3.92a 3.0b 24.92b 108.Am.0a 24.00fg 111.60ab 1057.67d 108.0a 18. mycorrhizal colonization and days to maturity Harvest Hectoliter weight Root dry Grain yield Mycorrhizal Days to Treatment index(%) (kg.42b 999.73 3.40ab 55.95 723.47 54.00ab 110.40 53.73a 3.33g 110.99 1200.77a-c 1143.3b F3 Means which have at least one common letter are not significantly different at the 5% level using (DMRT) Table 3: Mean comparison twofold interaction effects of co-inoculation of Azotobacter and Mycorrhiza under nitrogen and phosphorus levels on harvest index.0cd 13.95a 1077.5b 16.27ab 3.50d 108.0a A0M1 26.7c M1F0 27.92b 53.67c 108.28ab 51.56c 1146.92a 109.2a M1F1 26.58a 109.4b 26.00 108.14a 3.80a 1183.40a-c 52.35a 54.73c 52.00hi 108.17ab 3.04b 762.7b A1F2 26.0 21.0b 12.0a 15.50 108.7bc A1M1F3 25.3f 18.07e 48.64ab 1157.07 52.66i 108.67a 108.3b A0F2 A0F3 28.50b 108.3c 26.0b 25.33 109.85 3.13a 3.0c A1M0F0 24.73ab 3.08 53.37a-c 3.97a 1208.67hi 108.10ab 3.33cd 108.86a 1117.0b 29.58c 108.08de 793.0a 23.57b-e 52.0ab A1M0F1 22.32a 3.83 1177.7bc Means which have at least one common letter are not significantly different at the 5% level using (DMRT) 258 .62c 3.22bc 51.15c 51.17ab 111.23 3.0a-d 11.25c 109.77ab 3.7 34.8a A1M1 26.00c 108.6a F0 a b a c a F1 25.00ab 2.0cd 25.37 3.33 111.64bc 1057.94a 1049. Agri.03 781. root dry weight.98a 1072.8b F2 25. J.53 2.69a 1015.02d 758. & Biol.0a 20.7c M0F3 26.

00 HI -0. The main effects of inoculation with mycorrhiza was significant at 5% and use of different nitrogen and phosphorus levels was significant at 1% probability level on root dry weight.27] Thus.10ns 1.[4] reported that harvest index of safflower cultivars ranges from 18. Threefold interactions effect of inoculation with Azotobacter and mycorrhiza with combination of nitrogen and phosphorus levels were significant at 1% probability level. Inoculation with Azotobacter and mycorrhiza could have not any significant effect on day to maturity. mycorrhiza fungi can causes higher growth in roots and increase root dry weight in plants which were inoculated with mycorrhiza.46 g plant−1 in safflower cultivars. Mainly cereals. oilseeds. vegetables and spices crops were selected for assessment.05ns 1. AEZ-11 (Ishurdi) and AEZ-23 (Hathazari)] of Bangladesh during 1999-2000.06ns -0..95 g plant−1.07ns 1. The spore number varied within and between the zones[12]. In other word.3 days and A0M1F3 with average 108 days had highest and lowest number of days to maturity.4-28. Usually grains which have higher 1000 grain weight. Number of days to maturity of safflower cultivars under water stress and non water stress condition reported ranges from 106-114 and 114118 days. . 2009 Table 5: Correlation coefficients between traits Trait 1 2 3 4 5 6 GY 1. Among all of treatments.14ns -0.4/100 g soil) was recorded at AEZ-23 (Hathazari) and minimum (98. Treatment A1M1F0 with average 55. Average colonization (in two years) was maximum (43.21ns 1. twofold and threefold interactions effect of treatments had significant effect on grain yield.4%[24]. But different levels of nitrogen and phosphorus were significant on day to maturity at 1% probability.62** 0.27ns 0.66 in treatment A0M1F3 to 38. respectively[4]. Inoculation with mycorrhiza and chemical fertilizers application were significantly effect on hectoliter weight. twofold and threefold interactions effect of treatments were significant on mycorrhizal colonization. In this study mycorrhizal colonization fluctuated from 9.8/100 g soil) at AEZ-28 (Joydebpur). Also Ashkani et al. have higher in hectoliter weight in compare with grains which have lower 1000 grain weight. except main effect of mycorrhiza and twofold interactions effect of inoculation with Azotobacter and mycorrhiza. Many studies suggest that water extraction by plant roots can be enhanced when they are infected By Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (AM) fungi. Association of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal (AM) with crops was assessed at four Agro-Ecological Zones [AEZ-28(Joydebpur). J.23.16ns 0.7 kg ha−1 were higher than other treatments.33* -0.49 g plant−1 and without mycorrhiza in average 0.5-23.[9] showed fluctuates of 1000 grain weight from 30-49 g and it was correlated with grain yield (r = 0. Results showed that treatment A1M1F3 with 259 average grain yield 1239 kg ha−1 and treatment A0M1F0 with average grain yield 723. pulses.00 RDW 0. AEZ-9 (Jamalpur). Therefore.11 g plant−1 and A0M1F0 with average 2. 2: Harvest Index (HI).27ns 0.77 kg. The interaction effect of Azotobacter and different levels of nitrogen and phosphorus was significant at 1% probability level. & Biol.23 kg. All of main.63** 0. All of main. The average AM root colonization in all crops differed among the locations during both years.100 L−1 has lower hectoliter weight among treatments. 5: Hectolitre Weight (HW). significantly. 4: Mycorrhizal Colonization (MC).10. 3: Root Dry Weight (RDW). The study of evaluated parameters varied greatly among the cultivars. Camas et al. A0M1F0 with average 111.100 L−1 has higher and A0M1F1 with average 48.00 MC 0. if enough available nutrients existing in around of plants root. respectively.3325 (kg ha−1)[6. Bryla and Duniway[7] reported that root dry weight in inoculation with mycorrhiza was 0.8%) at AEZ-28 (Joydebpur). A considerable variation was also observed in average spore population among different AEZs. mycorrhizal symbiosis could increase P uptake by plants.00 DTM -0. Previous literature reports cited that grain yield of safflower ranging from 1168. head diameter (r = 0.45**). the lowest and highest yields observed in the current study are somewhat similar those found in the preceding works. plants can absorb higher amount of macro and micro elements and produce more grain with higher hectoliter weight. 4 (3): 255-261.53**) or its components.34* -0. Agri. 6: Days To Maturity (DTM) Harvest index of safflower cultivars under water stress condition ranges from 23.3%) at AEZ-9 (Jamalpur) and minimum (38. Higher average spore number (157.63** 0.Am. Sci.47**) and (r = 0. The highest and lowest root dry weight obtained in A1M1F2 with average 4. but it was correlated with 1000 grain weight trait.15ns 1 1: Grain Yield (GY). Thus. except main effect of Azotobacter.9.33% in treatment A0M1F2 and it was not correlated with grain yield.00 HW -0.5%.

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