Plant and Soil

, Volume 339, Issue 1–2, pp 391–399 | Cite as

Physiological and photosynthetic responses of melon (Cucumis melo L.) seedlings to three Glomus species under water deficit

  • Zhi Huang
  • Zhirong ZouEmail author
  • Chaoxing He
  • Zhongqun He
  • Zhibin Zhang
  • Jianming Li
Regular Article


Melon (Cucumis melo L.)—an important horticultural crop that is often cultivated in simply equipped solar greenhouses in northwestern regions of China—usually suffers under poor water management. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis can play a major role in enhancing drought tolerance. Plant growth, physiological, and photosynthetic responses of melon plants inoculated with three Glomus species under two water conditions were investigated. Results show that inoculation with Glomus improves the physiological and photosynthetic parameters of inoculated seedlings compared with non-AM seedlings. Regardless of water conditions, plant height, root length, biomass production, antioxidant enzyme activity, soluble sugar content, net photosynthetic rate, and photosynthetic water use efficiency were elevated in AM seedlings compared to non-AM seedlings. Each Glomus species manifests unique effects under the two watering conditions. We posit that AM symbiosis can protect melon plants against water deficiencies by improving their antioxidant activity, bi-directional transport of carbohydrates, and photosynthetic capacity. In addition, regardless of water conditions, the most efficient fungus for melon (Cucumis melo L.) was Glomus mosseae.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi Water deficit Photosynthesis Antioxidant system Growth Melon 



Arbuscular mycorrhiza


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi


Ambient partial pressure of CO2




Intercellular CO2 concentration


Guaiacol peroxidase


Stomatal conductance


Stomatal limitations


Mycorrhizal dependency


Net photosynthetic rate


Photosynthetic water use efficiency


Relative water content


Superoxide dismutase


Transpiration rate


Water deficit





Seeds and mycorrhizal inocula were provided by the Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, CAAS, Beijing, PR, China. This work was funded by the Chinese National Science and Technology Support Programme (2007BAD79B04 and 2006AA10Z421).


  1. Aebi H (1984) Catalase in vitro. Methods Enzymol 105:121–126CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Alguacil MM, Hernandez JA, Caravaca F, Portillo B, Roldan A (2003) Antioxidant enzyme activities in shoots from three mycorrhizal shrub species afforested in a degraded semi-arid soil. Physiol Plant 118:562–570CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Auge RM (2001) Water relations, drought and vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. Mycorrhiza 11:3–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Auge RM (2004) Arbuscular mycorrhizae and soil/plant water relations. Can J Soil Sci 84:373–381Google Scholar
  5. Bartels D, Sunkar R (2005) Drought and salt tolerance in plants. Crit Rev Plant Sci 24:23–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bethlenfalvay GJ (1992) Vesicular-Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in nitrogen-fixing legumes - problems and prospects. Methods Microbiol 24:375–389CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beyer W, Fridovich I (1987) Assaying for superoxide dismutase activity: some large consequences of minor changes in conditions. Anal Biochem 161:559–566CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bolgiano N, Safir G, Warncke D (1983) Mycorrhizal infection and growth of onion in the field in relation to phosphorus and water availability. J Am Hortic Sci 108:819–825Google Scholar
  9. Bradford MM (1976) A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding. Anal Biochem 72:248–254CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Bray EA (1997) Plant responses to water deficit. Trends Plant Sci 2:48–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diallo AT, Samb PI, Roy-Macauley H (2001) Water status and stomatal behaviour of cowpea, Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp, plants inoculated with two Glomus species at low soil moisture levels. Eur J Soil Biol 37:187–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Duncan DB (1955) Multiple range and multiple F tests. Biometrics 11:1–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Estaun MV (1990) Effect of sodium chloride and mannitol on germination and hyphal growth of the vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus. Agric Ecosyst Environ 29:123–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Farquhar GD, Sharkey TD (1982) Stomatal conductance and photosynthesis. Annu Rev Plant Physiol 33:317–345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fidelibus MW, Martin CA, Wright GC, Stutz JC (2000) Effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal communities on growth of 'Volkamer' lemon in continually moist or periodically dry soil. Sci Hortic 84:127–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fidelibus MW, Martin CA, Stutz JC (2001) Geographic isolates of Glomus increase root growth and whole-plant transpiration of citrus seedlings grown with high phosphorus. Mycorrhiza 10:231–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gadkar V, David-Schwartz R, Kunik T, Kapulnik Y (2001) Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal colonization. Factors involved in host recognition. Plant Physiol 127:1493–1499CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Graham JH, Syvertsen JP (1985) Host determinants of mycorrhizal dependency of citrus rootstock seedlings. New Phytol 101:667–676CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Graham JH, Eissenstat DM, Drouillard DL (1991) On the relationship between a plant's mycorrhizal dependency and rate of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization. Funct Ecol 5:773–779Google Scholar
  20. Jacobson KM (1997) Moisture and substrate stability determine VA-mycorrhizal fungal community distribution and structure in an arid grassland. J Arid Environ 35:59–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jones HG (1985) Partitioning stomatal and non-stomatal limitations to photosynthesis. Plant Cell Environ 8:95–104Google Scholar
  22. Kramer PJ, Boyer JS (1995) Water relations of plants and soils. Academic, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  23. Kubikova E, Moore JL, Ownley BH, Mullen MD, Auge RM (2001) Mycorrhizal impact on osmotic adjustment in Ocimum basilicum during a lethal drying episode. J Plant Physiol 158:1227–1230CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Li H (2000) Principles and techniques of plant physiological biochemical experiment. Higher Education, Beijing, pp 195–197Google Scholar
  25. Maehly AC (1955) Plant peroxidase. Methods Enzymol 2:801–813CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Marulanda A, Azcon R, Ruiz-Lozano JM (2003) Contribution of six arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal isolates to water uptake by Lactuca sativa plants under drought stress. Physiol Plant 119:526–533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Noctor G, Foyer C (1998) Ascorbate and glutathione: keeping active oxygen under control. Annu Rev Plant Biol 49:249–279CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Phillips JM, Hayman DS (1970) Improved procedures for clearing roots and staining parasitic and vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi for rapid assessment of infection. Trans Br Mycol Soc 55:158–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Roldan-Fajardo BE (1994) Effect of indigenous arbuscular mycorrhizal endophytes on the development of six wild plants colonizing a semi-arid area in south-east Spain. New Phytol 127:115–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Ruiz-Lozano JM (2003) Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis and alleviation of osmotic stress. New perspectives for molecular studies. Mycorrhiza 13:309–317CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Ruiz-Lozano JM, Azcón R (1996) Mycorrhizal colonization and drought stress as factors affecting nitrate reductase activity in lettuce plants. Agric Ecosyst Environ 60:175–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Ruiz-Lozano JM, Azcón R, Gomez M (1995a) Effects of arbuscular-mycorrhizal Glomus species on drought tolerance: physiological and nutritional plant responses. Appl Environ Microbiol 61:456–460PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Ruiz-Lozano JM, Gómez M, Azcón R (1995b) Influence of different Glomus species on the time-course of physiological plant responses of lettuce to progressive drought stress periods. Plant Sci 110:37–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ruiz-Lozano JM, Azcón R, Palma JM (1996) Superoxide dismutase activity in arbuscular mycorrhizal Lactuca sativa plants subjected to drought stress. New Phytol 134:327–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sanchez-Blanco MJ, Ferrandez T, Morales MA, Morte A, Alarcon JJ (2004) Variations in water status, gas exchange, and growth in Rosmarinus officinalis plants infected with Glomus deserticola under drought conditions. J Plant Physiol 161:675–682CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Wu QS, Xia RX (2006) Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi influence growth, osmotic adjustment and photosynthesis of citrus under well-watered and water stress conditions. J Plant Physiol 163:417–425CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Wu QS, Zou YN, Xia RX, Wang MY (2007) Five Glomus species affect water relations of Citrus tangerine during drought stress. Bot Stud 48:147–154Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhi Huang
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Zhirong Zou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chaoxing He
    • 2
  • Zhongqun He
    • 3
  • Zhibin Zhang
    • 2
  • Jianming Li
    • 1
  1. 1.College of HorticultureNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural ScienceBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.College of HorticultureSichuan Agricultural UniversityYa’anPeople’s Republic of China

Personalised recommendations