Application of Indigenous Rhizospheric Microorganisms and Local Compost as Enhancers of Lettuce Growth, Development, and Salt Stress ToleranceShow More
Abstract: This study aimed to mitigate salt stress effects on lettuce by using native biostimulants (arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (M, consortium), plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (R, Z2, and Z4 strains), and compost (C)) applied alone or in combination under salinity stress (0, 50, and 100 mM NaCl). Physiological, biochemical, nutritional, mycorrhizal, growth, and soil characteristics were evaluated. Results revealed that growth and physiological traits were negatively affected by salinity. However, mycorrhizal colonization was enhanced under 100 mM NaCl after compost application. The applied biostimulants, particularly M and/or R improved the salinity tolerance of lettuce by increasing the dry biomass by 119% and 113% under 100 mM NaCl, respectively, for M and MR treatments. Similarly, MR enhanced stomatal conductance (47%), water content (260%), total chlorophyll (130%), phosphorus content (363%), and reduced the malondialdehyde (54%) and hydrogen peroxide (78%) compared to the control. Moreover, peroxidase activity (76%) and sugar content (36%) were enhanced by CM treatment, while protein (111%) and proline (104%) contents were significantly boosted by R treatment under 100 mM NaCl. Furthermore, glomalin content was enhanced by MR treatment under severe salinity. In conclusion, the applied biostimulants alone or in combination might help lettuce to tolerate salt stress and enhance its production in degraded areas.
Keywords: arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi / compost / plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria / salinity tolerance / lettuce
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