Plant and Soil

, Volume 114, Issue 2, pp 235-241

First online:

Occurrence ofAzospirillum spp. in coconut-based farming systems

  • S. K. GhaiAffiliated withDivision of Microbiology, Central Plantation Crops Research Institute
  • , George V. ThomasAffiliated withDivision of Microbiology, Central Plantation Crops Research Institute

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Occurrence of Azospirillum was investigated in coconut-based farming systems, such as high-density multispecies cropping (15 crops), multi-storeyed cropping (3 crops), mixed cropping with tea and coffee (2 crops), intercropping with tropical tubers (5 crops), mixed farming with grasses (3 crops) and in 3 crops, arecanut,Mimosa invisa and sugarcane from other plots. A total of 26 plantation crops and intercrops were included in the study. Incidence of Azospirillum was determined by 2,3,5-triphenyl-tetrazolium chloride reduction and by culturing root fragments in N-free semisolid malate medium. Root samples from guava, mango and mimosa did not show any tetrazolium reduction or sub-surface pellicular growth. The extent of occurrence of Azospirillum seemed to depend upon the crop combinations. In a mixed farming system where guinea grass was one of the component crops, more root fragments of coconut and pepper demonstrated tetrazolium reduction activity than when guinea grass was absent.Azospirillum lipoferum andA. brasilense constituted 42% and 45% of the isolates, respectively, in the coconut-based cropping systems. Isolates from guinea grass, sugarcane and jackfruit exhibited higher nitrogenase (C2H2 reduction) than those isolated from plantation crops, tuber crops and spices. The large variation in the extent of association and nitrogenase activity of isolates from different crops indicated the need for inoculation with efficient cultures in a number of crops in coconut-based cropping systems.

Key words

Azospirillum Cocos nucifera intercrops nitrogen fixation plantation crops tetrazolium reduction