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Effects of cyanobacteria strains selected for their bioconditioning and biofertilization potential on maize dry matter and soil nitrogen status in a South African soil

AuthorsMaqubela, M. P.; Mnkeni, P. N. S.; Muchaonyerwa, P.; D’Acqui, L. P.; Pardo Fernández, María Teresa
KeywordsDegraded soils
Exocellular polysaccharide
Indigenous cyanobacteria
Nitrogen fixation
Issue Date2010
PublisherTaylor & Francis
CitationSoil Science and Plant Nutrition 56(4): 552-559 (2010)
AbstractSome cyanobacteria strains have biofertilization and/or bioconditioning effects in soils as a result of their ability to fix dinitrogen or produce exocellular polysaccharides. The objective of the present study was to screen indigenous cyanobacteria strains with the potential to improve the N fertility and structural stability of degraded soils, and evaluate their ameliorative effectiveness in semiarid soils of the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Soils from Guquka, Hertzog and Qunu villages, and Fort Cox College were used in the screening study. The results showed that only three cyanobacteria strains (3g, 3v and 7e) out of 97 isolated strains were heterocystous, with appreciable nitrogenase activity and the ability to produce exocellular polysaccharides. Nostoc strains 3g and 3v had a greater ability to produce exocellular polysaccharides, but low potential to fix dinitrogen (4.7 and 1.3 nmol C2H4 μg-1 chl h-1, respectively). Strain 7e had the greatest ability to fix dinitrogen (16.1 nmol C2H4 μg-1 chl h-1), but produced fewer exocellular polysaccharides. The ability of strains 3g and 7e to influence maize dry matter (DM) and soil C and N contents was tested in a nitrogen-poor soil with Nostoc strain 9v as a reference strain. Potted soils with and without growing maize plants were inoculated with the different cyanobacteria strains in a glasshouse at a rate of 6 g m-2 soon after maize emergence. Harvesting and soil sampling were done 6 weeks after inoculation. Inoculation with strains 3g and 7e increased maize DM and N uptake significantly, on par with the reference strain. These increases were consistent with increases in nitrate-N observed at harvest time in inoculated cropped and non-cropped soils. Strain 7e resulted in greater increases in soil nitrate-N, tissue N and uptake than strain 3g, perhaps because of its greater ability to fix dinitrogen. Cropping with maize reduced soil total C and N, possibly owing to its negative effects on cyanobacteria establishment. These results suggest that indigenous cyanobacteria strains screened for greater N2-fixing ability have the potential to improve the productivity of N-poor soils in semiarid regions in South Africa. © 2010 Japanese Society of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition.
Publisher version (URL)
Identifiersdoi: 10.1111/j.1747-0765.2010.00487.x
issn: 0038-0768
e-issn: 1747-0765
Appears in Collections:(ICA) Artículos

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