Nitrogen fixing bacteria in microbial biofilms can conquer nutrient deficiencies under low fertilizer rates in maize cultivation

Aruni Udugama Vithanage, Gamini Seneviratne, CL Abayasekara

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Nitrogen fixing microorganisms play a major role in enhancing plant growth and development through biological nitrogen fixation (BNF). Their coupling with a fungal species develops fungalbacterial biofilms, which can be used as biofilmed biofertilizers (BFBFs). They enhance beneficial functions more than when they are in isolation. Thus, BFBFs can reduce chemical fertilizer (CF) inputs which cause to collapse soil microorganisms in agricultural ecosystems. A field experiment was conducted in a maize growing area in Sri Lanka (Anuradhapura), in order to evaluate the effects of BFBFs on plant growth and yield under application of different rates of CF (NPK) to maize crop. Reduced doses of CF (i.e. 75% and 50% of the recommended rate) with or without BFBFs application were compared with full dose of recommended CF (100%). Plant chlorophyll content, dry weight, seed weight and number of seeds per cob were measured as growth and yield parameters. Root associated nitrogenase activity was evaluated at flowering. Results showed that maize growth and yield with BFBFs + 50% CF were not significantly different from that of 100% CF, although 50% CF alone showed significantly lower performance. This suggests the potential of BFBFs to overcome nutrient deficiencies without affecting the maize yield. In fact, these results point towards a possible improvement of nutrient use efficiency in maize by BFBFs. This could also have been supported by the enhanced plant chlorophyll production in the presence of the BFBFs, even with the reduced doses of CF. Further, root associated nitrogenase activity was significantly higher with BFBFs + 50% CF than the other treatments. This helps to an improved BNF and hence microbial action in the rhizosphere. Thus, BFBFs application could lead to sustainable maize cultivation with low levels of CF and a better soil microbial community. Nitrogen fixing bacteria in microbial biofilms can conquer nutrient deficiencies under low fertilizer rates in maize cultivation. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258341868_Nitrogen_fixing_bacteria_in_microbial_biofilms_can_conquer_nutrient_deficiencies_under_low_fertilizer_rates_in_maize_cultivation [accessed Sep 25, 2017].
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event16th Australian Nitrogen Fixation Conference - Manly, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 23 Jun 201226 Jun 2012
http://sydney.edu.au/news/agriculture/1272.html?newsstoryid=9219

Conference

Conference16th Australian Nitrogen Fixation Conference
CountryAustralia
CitySydney
Period23/06/1226/06/12
Internet address

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    Udugama Vithanage, A., Seneviratne, G., & Abayasekara, CL. (2012). Nitrogen fixing bacteria in microbial biofilms can conquer nutrient deficiencies under low fertilizer rates in maize cultivation. Abstract from 16th Australian Nitrogen Fixation Conference, Sydney, Australia.