Mycorrhizal symbiosis and glycine betaine effect foliar application on some agronomic traits of rainfed wheat in calcareous soils

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Soil and Water Research Dept., West Azerbaijan Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization, Urmia, Iran.

2 Soil Biology Research Dept., Soil and Water Research Institute, Karaj, Iran.


In order to investigate the effect of mycorrhizal fungi symbiosis and glycine betaine foliar application on some quantitative and qualitative characteristics of rainfed wheat, this experiment was carried out in the Rainfed Research Station of Agricultural and Natural Resources Education and Research Center of West Azerbaijan, Iran during 2017-19 cropping seasons. The experiment was performed as a factorial randomized complete block design with three replications. The first factor was mycorrhizal fungi inoculum at three levels: (1) control, (2) inoculation of seeds before sowing with mycorrhizal fungus inoculum of  Rhizaphagus irregularis (GI) at a rate of 2%, (3) inoculation of seeds before sowing with mycorrhizal fungi inoculum as a mixture of three species of Funneliformis mosseae, Rhizaphagus irregularis  and Claroideoglomus etunicatum  (GM) at a rate of 2% and the second factor was glycinebetaine in two levels (1) control (water spraying) and foliar application of glycinebetaine. The results showed that root colonization was significantly affected by mycorrhizal fungal treatments and increased from 9.89% in control to 30.57% and 40.71% in GI and GM treatments, respectively. Using GM and GI inoculum, wheat grain yield increased by 269 and 187 kg ha-1, respectively. Application of mycorrhizal inoculum increased grain protein content and concentration of phosphorus (P) and zinc (Zn) in the grain. In all the mentioned traits, GM treatment had higher efficiency than GI treatment. Glycine betaine increased seed yield by 160 kg/ha. Foliar application of glycine betaine increased grain yield by 160 kg ha-1. The highest grain yield in GM treatment + glycine betaine foliar application was 2163 kg ha-1 which was 196 kg more than the control treatment. Generally, the results suggested that the application of MI inoculant + foliar application of GB were highly effective in improving the grain yield, harvest index, and quality parameters of rainfed wheat in semi-arid regions.


Main Subjects



In this study, the roles of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and glycine betaine (GB) in nutrition, yield, and grain protein content of field-grown wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) subjected to dryland condition examined through a 2-year crop sequence experiment (2017/19) on a clay loam soil (Calcixerents) in the northwest of Iran.


Methods and Materials

This experiment was performed as a factorial randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three replications. Trail 1 consisted of AMF treatments inoculated of seeds with specie Rhizaphagus irregularis (RI) alone, or in combination with three species of Funneliformis mosseae, Rhizaphagus irregularis and Claroideoglomus etunicatum (CI) and without inoculation as the control. Trail 2 included two treatments: water spraying as the control and foliar application of GB with a concentration of 100 mM applied at two growth stages viz. vegetative (GS 31 Zadoks) and grain filling (GS 49 Zadoks).


Results and Discussion

 Field AMF inoculation showed increased grain yield for RI and MI treatments by 269 and 187 kg ha-1, respectively, indicating that AMF hyphae help the plant to obtain water and mineral nutrients from the soil. On the straw weight trait, its effect was non-significant.GB foliar application resulted in a significant increase in grain yield by 160 kg ha-1, which seems to be related to the allocation of more photosynthetic substances to the reproductive parts under the influence of this treatment.The highest grain yield in the combined treatment of MI + GB was 2163 kg ha-1 which was 477 kg more than the control. Seed treatments with both AMF inoculants enhanced the harvest index by an average of 13.50%. Maximum harvest index was recorded when MI inoculant was used with GB treatment, while this combined treatment further promoted harvest index by 8% compared to the control. Mycorrhizal colonization was higher in plants colonized with AMF inoculants than in the control plants and increased from 9.9% to an average of 35.7%. Plants inoculated with MI treatment significantly had higher colonization than the plants colonized with RI inoculants. MI treatment significantly increased grain protein content by 5.9% compared to the control, but RI treatment did not affect the grain protein content. Mycorrhizae-inoculated plants significantly exhibited higher zinc (Zn) and phosphorus (P) nutrient concentrations in the grain than non-inoculated plants (p<0.05). Compared with non-inoculated plants, the highest P and Zn concentrations were measured in MI treatment that increased by 12.2% and 20.87%, respectively.  The foliar application of GB was ineffective on the traits of harvest index, mycorrhizal colonization, grain protein content, and P and Zn nutrient concentrations in the grain.



Generally, the results suggested that the application of MI inoculant + foliar application of GB was highly effective in improving the grain yield, harvest index, and quality parameters of rainfed wheat in semi-arid regions.

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