, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 753-760
Date: 20 Mar 2007

Improved Tolerance of Acacia nilotica to Salt Stress by Arbuscular Mycorrhiza, Glomus fasciculatum may be Partly Related to Elevated K/Na Ratios in Root and Shoot Tissues

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A pot experiment was conducted to examine the effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus, Glomus fasciculatum, and salinity on the growth of Acacia nilotica. Plants were grown in soil under different salinity levels (1.2, 4.0, 6.5, and 9.5 dS m−1). In saline soil, mycorrhizal colonization was higher at 1.2, 4.0, and 6.5 dS m−1 salinity levels in AM-inoculated plants, which decreased as salinity levels further increased (9.5 dS m−1). Mycorrhizal plants maintained greater root and shoot biomass at all salinity levels compared to nonmycorrhizal plants. AM-inoculated plants had higher P, Zn, and Cu concentrations than uninoculated plants. In mycorrhizal plants, nutrient concentrations decreased with the increasing levels of salinity, but were higher than those of the nonmycorrhizal plants. Mycorrhizal plants had greater Na concentration at low salinity levels (1.2, 4.0 dS m−1), which lowered as salinity levels increased (6.5, 9.5 dS m−1), whereas Na concentration increased in control plants. Mycorrhizal plants accumulated a higher concentration of K at all salinity levels. Unlike Na, the uptake of K increased in shoot tissues of mycorrhizal plants with the increasing levels of salinity. Our results indicate that mycorrhizal fungus alleviates deleterious effects of saline soils on plant growth that could be primarily related to improved P nutrition. The improved K/Na ratios in root and shoot tissues of mycorrhizal plants may help in protecting disruption of K-mediated enzymatic processes under salt stress conditions.