Effects of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi on Gazania rigens Pot Plant Cultivation in a Mediterranean Environment



Herbaceous plants used in island beds and borders need to be rapid growing, high performing and maintaining good visual quality during the growing season. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi application is acquiring interest for its beneficial effects on ornamental bedding plants. Gazania rigens is a herbaceous ornamental plant grown for its large daisy-like flowers. The species thrives in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean region, particularly in the mild climate of southern Italy and Sicily, where performs well in summer bedding schemes in sea side gardens even in dry and windy conditions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of inoculation with Rhizophagus irregularis on several ornamental parameters of Gazania rigens. Prior to transplanting, three-months-old plants received a mycorrhizal inoculum carrying 40 spores g-1 of Rhizophagus irregularis. Inoculum was applied at a rate of 10 g plant-1. The AM application significantly increased number of flowers per clump by 100% and number of flowers per plant by 124.0%. Rhizophagus irregularis also positively influenced number of leaves per plant, plant height, and roots dry weight. Our findings indicated that mycorrhizal inoculation with R. irregularis may be beneficial to nursery growers wishing to produce high quality gazania for spring-summer bedding plant schemes.


bedding plants; micorrhizal inoculation; ornamental quality; perennials; Rhizophagus irregularis

Full Text:



Aboul-Nasr A (1996). Effects of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza on Tagetes erecta and Zinnia elegans. Mycorrhiza 6:6-64.

Asrar AA, Abdel-Fattah GM, Elhindi KM (2012). Improving growth, flower yield, and water relations of snapdragon (Antirhinum majus L.) plants grown under well-watered and water-stress conditions using arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Photosynthetica 50:305-316.

Asrar AWA, Elhindi KM (2011). Alleviation of drought stress of marigold (Tagetes erecta) plants by using arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences 18:93-98.

Bhatti SK, Kumar A, Rana T, Kaur N (2013). Influence of AM fungi (Glomus mosseae, Acaulosporalaevis and Gigaspora sp.) alone and in combination with Trichoderma viride on growth responses and physiological parameters of Dianthus caryophyllus Linn. Advances in Bioresearch 4(2):13-20.

Biermann B, Linderman RG (1983a). Effect of container plant growth medium and fertilizer phosphorus on establishment and host growth response to vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhiza. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 108(6):962-971.

Biermann B, Linderman RG (1983b). Increased geranium growth using pretransplant inoculation with a mycorrhizal fungus. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 108(6):972-976.

Brouwer R (1963). Some aspects of the equilibrium between over ground and underground plant parts. Jaarboek IBS, Wageningen pp 31-39.

Cantrell IC, Linderman RG (2001). Preinoculation of lettuce and onion with VA mycorrhizal fungi reduces deleterious effects of soil salinity. Plant and Soil 233:269-281.

Cassaniti C, Li Rosi A, Romano D (2009). Salt tolerance of ornamental shrubs mainly used in the Mediterranean landscape. Acta Horticulturae 807:675-680.

Chang DCN (1992). What is the potential for management of vesicular arbuscolar mycorrhizae in horticulture? In: Robson AD, Abbott LK, and Malajczuk N (Eds). Proc Intl Symp Management of Mycorrhizas in Agriculture, Horticulture and Forestry. Perth, Western Australia. Kluwer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands pp 187-190.

Gaur A, Gaur A, Adholeya A (2000). Growth and flowering in Petunia hybrida, Callistephus chinensis and Impatiens balsamina inoculated with mixed AM inocula or chemical fertilizers in a soil of low P fertility. Scientia Horticulturae 84:151-162.

Hamrick D (2003). Ball Redbook crop production. Ball Publishing pp 724.

Hayek S, Grosch R, Gianinazzi-Pearson V, Franken P (2012). Bioprotection and alternative fertilisation of petunia using mycorrhiza in a soilless production system. Agronomy for Sustainable Development 32:765-771.

Koide RT, Landherr LL, Besmer YL, Detweiler JM, Holcomb EJ (1999). Strategies for mycorrhizal inoculation of six annual bedding plant species. HortScience 34:1217-1220.

Kormanik PP, McGraw AC (1991). Quantification of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae in plant roots. In: Schenck NC (Ed). Methods and principles of mycorrhizal research. APS Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA pp 37-45.

Kumar P, Lucini L, Rouphael Y, Cardarelli C, Kalunke RM, Colla G (2015). Insight into the role of grafting and arbuscular mycorrhiza on cadmium stress tolerance in tomato. Frontiers in Plant Science 6:477.

Linderman RG, Davis EA (2003). Arbuscular mycorrhiza and growth responses of several ornamental plants grown in soilless peat-based medium amended with coconut dust (coir). HortTechnology 13(3):482-487.

Lopez J, Gonzalez A, Fernandez JA, Banon S (2006). Ornamental use of Labiates for xeriscape in Mediterranean area. Acta Horticulturae 723:459-464.

Ouziad F, Hildebrandt U, Schmelzer E, Bothe H (2005). Differential gene expressions in arbuscular mycorrhizal-colonized tomato grown under heavy metal stress, differential gene expressions in arbuscular mycorrhizal-colonized tomato grown under heavy metal stress. Journal of Plant Physiology 162:634-649.

Perner H, Schwarz D, Bruns C, Mader P, George E (2007). Effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization and two levels of compost supply on nutrient uptake and flowering of pelargonium plants. Mycorrhiza 17:469-474.

Phillips JM, Haymann DS (1970). Improved procedures for clearing roots and staining parasitic and vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi for rapid assessment of infection. Transactions of the British Mycological Society 55:158-161.

Püschel D, Rydlová J, Vosátka M (2014). Can mycorrhizal inoculation stimulate the growth and flowering of peat-grown ornamental plants under standard or reduced watering? Applied Soil Ecology 80:93-99.

Rouphael Y, Franken P, Schneider C, Schwarz D, Giovannetti M, Agnolucci M, De Pascale S, Bonini P, Colla G (2015). Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi acts as biostimulants in horticultural crops. Scientia Horticulturae 188:97-105.

Sabatino L, D’Anna F, Iapichino G (2014). Cutting type and IBA treatment duration affect Teucrium fruticans adventitious root quality. Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca 42:478-481.

Shahabivand S, Maivan HZ, Goltapeh EM, Sharifi M, Aliloo AA (2012). The effects of root endophyte and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on growth and cadmium accumulation in wheat under cadmium toxicity. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 60:53-58.

Sobrado MA, Turner NC (1986). Photosynthesis, dry matter accumulation and distribution in the wild sunflower Helianthus petiolaris and the cultivated sunflower Helianthus annuus as influenced by water deficits. Oecologia 69:181-187.

Sohn BK, Kim KY, Chung SJ, Kim WS, Park SM, Kang JG, Rim YS, Cho JS, Kim TH, Lee JH (2003). Effect of the different timing of AMF inoculation on plant growth and flower quality of Chrysanthemum. Scientia Horticulturae 98:173-183.

Torta L, Mondello V, Burruano S (2003). Valutazione delle caratteristiche morfo-anatomiche di alcune simbiosi micorriziche mediante tecniche colorimetriche usuali e innovative. Micologia Italiana 2:53-59.

Vaingankar JD, Rodrigues BF (2012). Screening for efficient AM (arbuscular mycorrhizal) fungal bioinoculants for two commercially important ornamental flowering plant species of Asteraceae. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture 28:167-176.

Vosátka M (1995). Influence of inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on the growth and mycorrhizal infection of transplanted onion. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 53:151-159.

Vosátka M, Jansa J, Regvar M, Šrámek F, Malcová R (1999). Inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi a feasible biotechnology for horticulture. Phyton-Annales Rei Botanicae A 39:219-224.

Zhu XC, Song FB, Liu SQ, Liu TD (2011). Effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus on photosynthesis and water status of maize under high temperature stress. Plant Soil 346:189-199.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15835/nbha47111272

June 1, 2018: Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca in Scopus ElsevierCiteScore 2017=0.78,Horticulture; Agronomy and Crop Science; Plant Science