Effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi on growth and physiological responses of water stressed Azadirachta indica A. Juss seedlings
Keywords:Azadirachta indica, AM–Arbuscular mycorrhizae, Water stress, Neem, germination and growth, Neem physiological traits
A neem nursery experiment was conducted to investigate the effect of AM on germination, growth, physiological traits and to evaluate the effect of AM fungi in tolerating water stress. The experiment comprised of two treatments; AM-inoculated and non-inoculated three months old neem seedlings, of which the treatments were subjected to water stress condition. A slightly higher germination rate
of 7.77 % was observed in the Glomus mosseae inoculated treatment relative to the non-inoculated treatment. Moreover, water stress exhibited significant reductions in various morphological parameters and relative water content, with more effects pronounced in non-inoculated treatment. The AM–inoculated treatment showed prompt recovery during water resumption period which was reflected in the reduction of relative stress injury. Proline and soluble carbohydrate contents were significantly more in leaves of non-inoculated treatment as compared to AM-inoculated treatment during water stress. Although, water stress caused a reduction in mycorrhizal abundance, growth, and soil moisture content, AM considerably maintained plant growth performance hence retained better soil moisture content.