Journal article

Interaction of compost additives with phosphate solubilizing rhizobacteria improved maize production and soil biochemical properties under dryland agriculture

Dry land soils from the Indo-Gangetic plains are inherently poor in organic matter content and phosphorus (P). Amendment of these soils with P-enriched compost, together with P solubilizing rhizobacterial (PSR) inoculation has been suggested to improve plant growth and P uptake. We performed 3 x 2 factorial experiment using compost i.e. control, raw saw dust P compost (RPC) and acidified saw dust P compost (APC), and PSR inoculation as factors. The pot study investigated the effects of compost and PSR on maize growth, yield, P nutrition and soil biochemical properties. PSR inoculation with APC enhanced shoot length, cob diameter, grain yield and plant P uptake compared to control. APC amendment, either alone or in combination with PSR, also improved root growth and caused extension of rhizosphere by increasing the root length density of the maize plants. Significant improvement in soil biochemical properties i.e. dehydrogenase (DHA), beta-glucosidase (BGA), urease (UA) activity, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), soil organic carbon (SOC) and microbial biomass carbon (MBC) are due to the additive effect of compost amendments. A substantial increase in P availability and associated biochemical attributes reflect the significance of substrate quality, structural stability and optimized pH conditions of added compost that may have enhanced PSR performance, specifically with APC. Moreover, increased carboxylate secretions and PSR abundance in the root zone, lowering of pH and increase in rhizosphere fungal parameters, suggest PSR and APC to be synergetic driving of increased P availability for maize. We conclude that efficiency of P enriched compost could be increased with suitable compost additive in the presence of PSR in dry land soil.


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