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Journal of soil science and plant nutrition

On-line version ISSN 0718-9516

Abstract

ZUNIGA-FEEST, Alejandra et al. The nitrogen fixing specie Sophora cassioides (Fabaceae), is nutritionally favored and their rhizosphere bacteria modified when is co-cultivated with the cluster root forming Embothrium coccineum (Proteaceae). J. Soil Sci. Plant Nutr. [online]. 2018, vol.18, n.3, pp.597-616. ISSN 0718-9516.  http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-95162018005001801.

The hypothesis that Embothrium coccineum, a species able to solubilize P through cluster roots (CR) carboxylate exudation, makes P more available in volcanic depositions, thus facilitating the growth of other plant species such as the N-fixing Sophora cassioides was tested. In this work, seedlings of these two tree species were grown alone or co-cultivated for six months in greenhouse conditions with either pumice, a recent volcanic deposition with low P availability, or an organic commercial mix. Upon analyzing the aboveground growth of the two substrate treatments, we found no clear evidence of facilitation. Despite this, substrate type did influence the relative growth and some characteristics of CR and nodules. On the other side, the number of total soil bacteria, but not Rhizobium spp, was greater when E. coccineum and S. cassioidea were grown together than when only one species was grown alone. Nutritional parameters, such as the concentration of nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) in roots and total leaf protein content in leaves, indicated that the nutritional content of S. cassioides was greater when co-cultivated with E. coccineum in pumice. Specifically, co-cultivation tended to reduced P limitation and improved N acquisition by S. cassioides. Based on these results, our hypothesis is partially accepted.

Keywords : Facilitation; cluster roots; nodules; volcanic deposition plant colonization.

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