, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 169-181

Vermicompost treatment differentially affects seed germination, seedling growth and physiological status of vegetable crop species

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Abstract

Vermicompost preparations are increasingly used in agricultural practice. There is a possibility, that crop plants are sensitive to negative effect of vermicompost at early stages of development. The aim of the present study was to test the effects of vermicompost on seed germination and seedling growth of different vegetable crop species. Vermicompost substitution inhibited seed germination and seedling growth with almost linear decrease of growth with increasing concentration of vermicopost in the substrate. However, both leaf chlorophyll content and photochemical activity of photosynthesis increased in all crop species with the exception of pea seedlings. Vermicompost extract as a watering solution showed positive effect on growth of bean and pea seedlings. Germination response of vermicompost extract-imbibed seeds was clearly crop species-dependent. Hypocotyl growth was stimulated by low and moderate vermicompost extract concentrations. Radicle growth was more sensitive to negative effect of vermicompost extract. It is reported that both solid vermicompost and vermicompost extract contain number of active substances of both phenolic and humic nature, each with own dose- and genotype-dependent effect of seed germination and early stages of seedling development. Findings of this study suggests that vermicompost must be used cautiously for practical purposes of plant propagation.