Skip to main content
Log in

Mycorrhizal colonisation improves fruit yield and water use efficiency in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus Thunb.) grown under well-watered and water-stressed conditions

  • Published:
Plant and Soil Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Abstract

The effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) colonisation by Glomus clarum on fruit yield and water use efficiency (WUE) was evaluated in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) cv. Crimson Sweet F1 under field conditions. Treatments were: (1) well-watered plants without mycorrhizae (WW-M), (2) well-watered plants with mycorrhizae (WW+M), (3) water- stressed plants without mycorrhizae (WS-M) and (4) water-stressed plants with mycorrhizae (WS+M). When soil water tension readings reached −20 and −50 kPa for well-watered (WW) and water-stressed (WS) treatments, respectively, irrigation was initiated to restore the top soil to near field capacity. Water stress reduced watermelon shoot and root dry matter, fruit yield, water use efficiency but not total soluble solids (TSS) in the fruit, compared with the non-stressed treatments. Mycorrhizal plants had significantly higher biomass and fruit yield compared to nonmycorrhizal plants, whether plants were water stressed or not. AM colonisation increased WUE in both WW and WS plants. Macro- (N, P, K, Ca and Mg) and micro- (Zn, Fe and Mn) nutrient concentrations in the leaves were significantly reduced by water stress. Mycorrhizal colonisation of WS plants restored leaf nutrient concentrations to levels in WW plants in most cases. This is the first report of the mitigation of the adverse effect of water stress on yield and quality of a fruit crop.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Abdul-Baki A, Spence C and Hoover R (1992) Black polyethylene mulch doubled yield of fresh-market field tomatoes. HortScience 27, 787–789.

    Google Scholar 

  • Allen M F 1982 Influence of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae on water movement through Bouteloua gracilis (H.B.K.) Lag ex Steud. New Phytol. 91, 191–196.

    Google Scholar 

  • Auge R M, Schekel K A and Wample R L 1986 Greater leaf conductance of well-watered VA mycorrhizal rose plants is not related to phosphorus nutrition. New Phytol. 103, 107–116.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aydemir S 2001 Properties of palygorskite-influenced vertisols and vertic-like soils in the Harran plain of South-eastern Turkey. PhD. Dissertation, Texas A&M University, USA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bolan N S 1991 A critical review on the role of mycorrhizal fungi in the uptake of phosphorus by plants. Plant Soil, 134, 187–207.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bryla D R and Duniway J M 1997a Effects of mycorrhizal infection on drought tolerance and recovery in safflower and wheat. Plant Soil 197, 95–103.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bryla D R and Duniway J M 1997b. Growth, phosphorus uptake, and water relations of safflower and wheat infected with an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus. New Phytol. 136, 581–590.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chapman H D and Pratt P F 1982 Methods of Analysis for Soils, Plants and Water. pp. 60–193, Chapman Pub., Riverside, California.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chartzoulakis K Noitsakis B and Therios I 1993 Photosynthesis, plant growth and dry matter distribution in kiwifruit as influenced by water deficits. Irr. Sci. 14, 1–5.

    Google Scholar 

  • Clark R B 1997 Arbuscular mycorrhizal adaptation, spore germination, root colonisation and host plant growth and mineral acqusition at low pH. Plant Soil, 192, 15–22.

    Google Scholar 

  • Davies F T, Svenson S E, Henderson J C, Phavaphutanon L, Duray S A, OlaldePortugal V, Meier C E and Bo S H 1996 Non-nutritional stress acclimation of mycorrhizal woody plants exposed to drought. Tree Physiol. 16, 985–993.

    Google Scholar 

  • Duffy E M and Cassells A C 2000. The effect of inoculation of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) microplants with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on tuber yield and tuber size distribution. Appl. Soil Ecol. 15, 137–144.

    Google Scholar 

  • Egilla J N, Davies F T and Drew M C 2001 Effect of potassium on drought resistance of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis cv. Leprechaun: plant growth, leaf macro-and micronutrient content and root longevity. Plant Soil 229, 213–224.

    Google Scholar 

  • Faber B A, Zasoski R J, Munns D N and Shackel K 1991. A method for measuring hyphal nutrient and water uptake in mycorrhizal plants. Can. J. Bot. 69, 87–94.

    Google Scholar 

  • Figueiredo M V B, Villar H A, Burity H A and de França F P 1999 Alleviation of water stress effects in cowpea by Bradyrhizobium spp. inoculatin. Plant Soil, 207, 67–75.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fitter A H 1988 Water relations of red clover Trifolium pratanse L. as affected by VA mycorrhizal infection and phosphorus supply before and during drought. J. Exp. Bot. 39, 595–603.

    Google Scholar 

  • Graham J H, Syvertsten J P and Smith M L 1987 Water relations of mycorrhizal and phosphorus-fertilised non mycorrhizal Citrus under drought stress. New Phytol. 105, 411–419.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gutierez-Boem F H and Thomas G W 1999 Phosphorus nutrition and water deficits in field-grown soybeans. Plant Soil, 207, 87–96.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hardeman T L, Taber H G and Cox D F 1999 Trickle irrigation of vegetables: water conservation without yield reduction. J. Veg. Crop Prod. 5, 23–33.

    Google Scholar 

  • Henderson J C and Davies F T 1990 Drought acclimation and the morphology of mycorrhizal Rosa hybrida L. cv. Ferdy is independent of leaf elemental content. New Phytol. 115, 503–510.

    Google Scholar 

  • Huang X, Huang H and Gao F 2000 The growth potential generated in citrus fruit under water stress and its relevant mechanisms. Sci. Hort. 83, 227–240.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jakobsen I 1995 Transport of phosphorus and carbon in VA mycorrhizas. In Mycorrhiza: Structure, Function, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. Eds. A Varma and B. Hock. pp. 297–324. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kaya C and Higgs D 2002 Response of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) cultivars to foliar application of zinc when grown in sand culture at low zinc. Sci. Hort. 93, 53–64.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kirnak H, Kaya C, Higgs D and Gercek S 2001 A long-term experiment to study the role of mulches in physiology and macro-nutrition of strawberry grown under water stress. Aust. J. Agric. Res. 52, 937–943.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kothari S K Marschner H and George E 1990 Effect of VA mycorrhizal fungi and rhizophere microorganisms on root and shoot morphology, growth and water relations in maize. New Phytol. 116, 303–311.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kramer P J and Boyer J S 1995 Water Relations of Plants and Soils. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Marschner H and Dell B 1994 Nutrient uptake in mycorrhizal symposis. Plant Soil, 159, 89–102.

    Google Scholar 

  • McGonigle T P, Miller M H, Evans D G, Fairchild DL and Swan GA 1990 A new method which gives an objective measure of colonisation of roots by vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. New Phytol. 115, 495–501.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nagel D 1995 Commercial production of bell peppers in Mississippi. Miss. State Univ. Coop. Ext. Serv. Information sheet, No: 1516, Starkville, MS.

  • Nelson C E and Safir G R 1982 Increased drought tolerance of mycorrhizal onion plants caused by improved phosphorus nutrition. Planta 154, 407–413.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ortas I, Ortakci D and Kaya Z 2002 Mycorrhizal dependency of sour orange in relation to phosphorus and zinc nutrition. J. Plant Nutr. 25 (6), 1263–1279.

    Google Scholar 

  • Persad-Chinnery S B and Chinnery L E 1996 Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae and micronutrient nutrition. In Advancement in Micronutrient Research. Ed. A Hemantaranjan. pp. 367–382. Scientific Publishers, Jodhpur, India.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rufykiri G, Declerck S, Dufey J E and Delvaux B 2000 Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi might alleviate aluminium toxicity in banana plants. New Phytol. 148, 343–352.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sangakkara U R, Hartwig U A and Nosberger J 1996 Root shoot development of French beans as affected by soil moisture and fertiliser potassium. J. Agron. Crop Sci. 177, 145–151.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sangakkara U R, Frehner M and Nosberger J 2000 Effect of soil moisture and potassium fertilizer on shoot water potential, photosynthesis and partitioning of carbon in mungbean and cowpea. J. Agron. Crop Sci. 185, 201–207.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smajstrla A G 2000 Irrigation scheduling and management. Citr. Veg. Mag. March, 1–4.

  • Smith S E and Read D J 1997 Mycorrhizal Symbiosis, 2nd edn. Academic Press, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  • Smittle D A, Dickens W L and Stansell J R 1994 Irrigation regimes affect yield and water use by bell pepper. J. Am. Soc. Hort. Sci, 119, 936–939.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wierenga P J and Saddiq M H 1985 Optimum soil water tension for trickle irrigated chilli peppers. Proc. Third Int. Drip/Trickle Congress, 1, 93–197, ASAE, CA

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to D. Higgs.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Kaya, C., Higgs, D., Kirnak, H. et al. Mycorrhizal colonisation improves fruit yield and water use efficiency in watermelon (Citrullus lanatus Thunb.) grown under well-watered and water-stressed conditions. Plant and Soil 253, 287–292 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024843419670

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024843419670

Navigation