Growth and yield promoting effect of artificial mycorrhization combined with different fertiliser rates on field-grown tomato
AbstractCombination of plant inoculation with a commercial mycorrhizal formulation with half or full fertiliser application rates was evaluated for the effects on plant growth and yield and mycorrhization occurrence throughout two consecutive field tomato crops in southern Italy. Mycorrhizal formulation was inoculated on tomato seedling roots both in the nursery and after transplant. Inoculated tomato seedlings were significantly larger than non-inoculated seedlings less than 30 days after the first inoculation in the nursery. Above ground dry biomass and stem number of inoculated plants were found to be higher also at the end of each crop. Positive effects of mycorrhizal inoculation were extended also to marketable yield of both crops, mainly due to an increased number and weight of clusters and fruits. Mycorrhizal treatment also improved crop earliness, seen in terms of anticipating plant flowering, increasing first harvest yield, and reducing average harvesting time compared to non-inoculated plants. Both rates of mineral fertilisers positively affected tomato growth and marketable yield, but did not influence fruit quality parameters. No significant interaction was found between mineral fertilisation and plant mycorrhization. Crop inoculation with mycorrhizal formulations could reduce the amounts of fertilisers and pesticides being used, and could represent a sustainable technique to improve crop yield and profitability.
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