Brazilian Journal of Botany

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 299–310 | Cite as

Mycorrhizal inoculation on compost substrate affects nutritional balance, water uptake and photosynthetic efficiency in Cistus albidus plants submitted to water stress

  • María Fernanda Ortuño
  • Beatriz Lorente
  • José Antonio Hernández
  • María Jesús Sánchez-Blanco
Original Article


The use of composted manure as alternative substrate can be suitable to produce ornamental potted plants. However, under water stress this substrate can result an additional stress for plants due to its physicochemical properties. In these conditions, mycorrhizae application can improve water and nutrients efficiency. The experiment was carried out in a growth chamber with a first phase (I) in which both inoculated and non-inoculated Cistus albidus L. plants at two substrates (commercial and mixtures of composted manure) were well irrigated and a second phase (II) in which the plants were submitted to water stress. Glomus iranicum (Blaszk., Kovács & Balázs) var. tenuihypharum sp. nova was well established in cistus roots, but water stress hindered mycorrhizal proliferation in compost, which resulted in plants with smaller leaf and root biomass. The plants in compost had the highest Cl, K, Na, P and Zn contents in leaf; mycorrhizae reduced the Na and increased phosphorus, especially when the substrate was well-watered. Water stress decreased leaf water potential (Ψl), and mycorrhizae induced higher Ψl values in both substrates. Compost induced leaf osmotic adjustment, lower gas exchange and photochemical quenching parameters (Fv/Fm, Y(II)) values. Mycorrhizal plants had higher Y(II) and qP values than non-inoculated plants. Compost decreased relative chlorophyll content in both phases, but in inoculated plants these values increased under water stress. C. albidus plants growing in compost maintain a good nutritional balance and efficient osmotic regulation. Under water stress, plants suffer more stress than plants in commercial substrate, as reflected by the lipid peroxidation and Pn values.


AMF Compost substrate Heavy metals Nutrients Osmotic adjustment Photosynthetic activity 



This work was supported by the Seneca Foundation of Murcia (Project 19903/GERM/15). Many thanks are to Pilar Bernal of the Sustainability of Soil–Plant Systems Group of CEBAS-CSIC for providing the compost substrate and to Symborg, S.L. for providing Glomus iranicum mycorrhizae, both used in this study.

Authors’ contributions

MFO performed the experiment and wrote the article. BL made some measurements and all the figures and tables and ordered all the references. JAH wrote all the information related to photosynthesis and chlorophyll fluorescence and lipid peroxidation. MJ Sánchez-Blanco designed, instructed the research work and wrote the article. The four authors were involved in data interpretation and paper preparing. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Botanical Society of Sao Paulo 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • María Fernanda Ortuño
    • 1
  • Beatriz Lorente
    • 1
  • José Antonio Hernández
    • 2
  • María Jesús Sánchez-Blanco
    • 1
  1. 1.Irrigation DepartmentCEBAS-CSICMurciaSpain
  2. 2.Fruit Tree Biotechnology Group, Department of Plant BreedingCEBAS-CSICMurciaSpain

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