Journal article

Nitrogen-enriched compost application combined with plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) improves seed quality and nutrient use efficiency of sunflower

Ecological benefits associated with plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) inoculants offer a promising integrated nutrient management option to counteract plant nitrogen (N) deficiency. We performed field experiments to evaluate the effect of integrated N fertilizer regime involving chemical N fertilizer (CNF) and N-enriched compost (NEC), either alone or combined with selected PGPR (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) on sunflower seed quality, N use efficiency (NUE) and soil fertility during 2014-2015. We found that integrated N biofertilizer application resulted in significantly higher seed oil concentration, fatty acid composition, and harvest index in both cropping years. Greater effects on N yield efficiency (NYE), N use efficiency (NUE), N physiological efficiency (NPE), and photosynthetic N use efficiency (PNUE) were recorded in nitrogen-enriched compost+PGPR inoculant (NECPI) treatment followed by chemical N fertilizer+PGPR inoculant (CNFPI) treatment. Statistically significant differences were observed in linoleic and linolenic acid, NYE, and NUE for treatment x year interaction, thus, suggesting that the integrated N biofertilizer approach facilitates the efficient N use by sunflower for improving yield and seed quality. Moreover, we also found considerable enhancement of soil N fertility after two consecutive cropping years of sunflower. The enhancement of seed quality, N use efficiencies, and soil N fertility through integrated N biofertilizer application emphasizes the importance of balanced crop N nutrition, ensuring sufficient N supply to sunflower with adequate N balance in soil for the next crop. Overall, combination of PGPR with NEC amendment may optimize N uptake efficiency and reduce N fertilizer losses, which is necessarily required for the sustainable sunflower production.


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