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A Comprehensive Study of Zinnia Response to Drought Stress under Arbuscular Mycorrhizl Symbiosis

Vahed Bagheri, Mohammad Hossein Shamshiri, Hossein Alaei, Hassan Salehi

Abstract


Background: Drought is one of the major environmental constraints that limit plant growth and productivity more than any other environmental factor. This experiment aimed to determine the effects of three arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) either singly or their mix inoculation on biomass production, water status, osmoregulation and antioxidant enzymes activities of zinnia plants under different drought stress (DS) levels.

Material and Methods: A completely randomized design was applied with a factorial arrangement of two factors: irrigation levels [100 % field capacity (FC100) as control, 80% FC (FC80), 60% FC (FC60) and 40% FC (FC40)] and mycorrhizal inoculation (without inoculation as control, Rhizophagus irregularis, Rhizophagus intraradices, Funneliformis mosseae and their mixture) at six replications.

Results: The results showed that DS reduced the root colonization in plants but the difference was significant just with FC40. The results also indicated that DS reduced total plant biomass (TPB), leaf relative water content (RWC), total soluble proteins (TSP), stem water potential (SWP) and soluble starch and increased water use efficiency (WUE), pro line, soluble sugar, total phenolic compounds (TPC), guaiacol peroxidase (GPX), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activities. Mycorrhizal inoculation decreased leaves pro line, leaves and root soluble sugar, antioxidant enzymes activity by improving plant status water status.

Conclusion: It is suggested that AMF inoculation improves drought tolerance of zinnia plants via direct water uptake and transport through fungal hyphae to the host plants, enhance nutrient uptake, improved osmotic adjustment and antioxidant activity. However, there were no significant differences between singly and mix inoculation.


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