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The abundance of heterocystous blue-green algae in rice soils and inocula used for application in rice fields

Summary

Algal populations were quantified (as colony-forming units [CFU] per square centimetre) in 102 samples of rice soils from the Philippines, India, Malaysia and Portugal, and in 22 samples of soil-based inocula from four countries. Heterocystous blue-green algae (BGA) were present in all samples. Nostoc was the dominant genus in most samples, followed by Anabaena and Calothrix. In soils, heterocystous BGA occurred at densities ranging from 1.0 × 102 to 8.0 × 106 CFU/cm2 (median 6.4 × 104) and comprised, on average, 9% of the total CFU of algae. Their abundance was positively correlated with the pH and the available P content of the soils. In soil-based inocula, heterocystous BGA occurred at densities ranging from 4.6 × 104 to 2.8 × 107 CFU/g dw (dry weight), comprising only a moderate fraction (average 13%) of the total algae. In most soils, the density of indigenous N2-fixing BGA was usually higher than that attained by applying recommended rates of soil-based inoculum. Whereas research on the practical utilization of BGA has been mostly directed towards inoculation with foreign strains, our results suggest that attention should also be given to agricultural practices that enhance the growth of indigenous strains already adapted to local environmental conditions.

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Correspondence to P. A. Roger.

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Maître de Recherches ORSTOM (France), Visiting Scientist at IRRI

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Roger, P.A., Santiago-Ardales, S., Reddy, P.M. et al. The abundance of heterocystous blue-green algae in rice soils and inocula used for application in rice fields. Biol Fert Soils 5, 98–105 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00257642

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Key words

  • Blue-green algae
  • Cyanobacteria
  • Rice field
  • Inoculation
  • Nostoc
  • Anabaena
  • Calothrix
  • N2-fixation