Influence of phosphorus application and arbuscular mycorrhizal inoculation on growth, foliar nitrogen mobilization, and phosphorus partitioning in cowpea plants
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The present study was undertaken to evaluate the effects of phosphorus (P) application and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi (Funneliformis mosseae) on growth, foliar nitrogen mobilization, and phosphorus partitioning in cowpea (Vigna unguiculata cv. Vita-5) plants. The experiment was conducted in a greenhouse in pots containing a mixture of vermiculite and sterilized quartz sand. Mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal cowpea plants were supplied with three levels of soluble P (0.1 (low P), 0.5 (medium P), or 1.0 mM (high P)).
Cowpea plants supplied with low P fertilization showed significantly (p < 0.05) higher root colonization than those with medium and high P fertilization at both the vegetative and pod-filling stages. P uptake and growth parameters of cowpea plants were positively influenced by mycorrhizal inoculation only in the medium P fertilization treatment at the vegetative stage. Lack of these effects in the other treatments may be linked to either a very low P supply (in the low P treatment at the vegetative stage) or the availability of optimal levels of freely diffusible P in the substrate towards the pod-filling stage due to accumulation with time. The N concentration in leaves of all cowpea plants were lower at the pod-filling stage than at the vegetative stage, presumably as a result of N mobilization from vegetative organs to the developing pods. This was however not influenced by AM fungal inoculation and may be a consequence of the lack of an improved plant P acquisition by the fungus at the pod-filling stage.
KeywordsVigna unguiculata Mycorrhiza Phosphorus fertilization Nitrogen mobilization Phosphorus acquisition
This research was supported by the TWAS-DFG Cooperation Visits Programme for scientists from sub-Saharan Africa through grant no. 3240249438 to Prof. Dr. Victor Désiré Taffouo and by the Ministries of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture of the Federal Republic of Germany, of the Land Brandenburg and of the Land Thüringen. The authors thank Mrs. Susanne Jeserigk and Mrs. Kerstin Schmidt for their excellent technical assistance and the anonymous reviewers for the very valuable comments on the original version of the manuscript.
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