Vesicular-arbuscular (VA) mycorrhizae improve salinity tolerance in pre-inoculation subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum) seedlings

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of Agriculture, Shahrood University of Technology, Shahrood, Iran


Effects of the mycorrhizal fungus Glomus intraradices on establishment of subterranean clover (Trifolium subterraneum L.) seedlings in saline conditions were studied in a glasshouse experiment. Growth and nutrient uptake were determined 10, 20 and 30 days after transplanting of mycorrhizal and nonmycorrhizal matched seedlings into soils with five different levels of salinity. Mycorrhizal plants had greater shoot and root dry weight than nonmycorrhizal plants. The enhancement in seedling dry weight due to mycorrhizal fungi was greater under high salinity levels. The detrimental effects of salinity stress on plant growth were appeared immediately after application low salinity stress to nonmycorrhizal plants (3.5 dS/m), but it was only observed in mycorrhizal plants at 7.5 dS/m and above. Mycorrhizal fungi increased P concentrations in shoots and roots compared with nonmycorrhizal plants particularly at 12 dS/m. Root K/Na ratio was also increased in mycorrhizal plants, possibly contributing to salinity tolerance. Calculation of mycorrhizal responses in terms of plant dry weight, P and K contents showed that the beneficial effects of mycorrhizal fungi on seedling salinity tolerance are due to different mechanisms at different stage of growth: increased P uptake during early growth and increased K uptake at the later stages. Results are discussed in the context of application of mycorrhizal inoculation to revegetation of salt affected lands.