RESPONSE OF GREENHOUSE CUCUMBER PLANTS TO VA MYCORRHIZAL INFECTION

in HortScience

The growth response of cucumber to vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (VAM) infection was determined from plant establishment to full maturity. Percent infection of plants by VAM species (Glomus mosseae, G. dimorphicum, and G. intraradices) decreased with increasing phosphorus (P) fertilization level. P deficiency was not visually observed during plant establishment (to 38 days after planting (DAP)). Leaf area, leaf and stem dry wt. and total plant dry wt. were greatly increased by VAM infection and P. The VAM-improved plant growth did not decrease as P level increased, and the pattern of dry matter partitioning was affected by VAM species. Plant P concentration (conc.) increased with P fertilization level and decreased with DAP. Stem P conc. was greatest in control plants, whereas leaves and roots of VAM-infected plants had the highest P conc. throughout the study. The conc. of soluble nitrogen (N) in leaves and roots decreased with increasing P level and time. Leaf and root tissues of control plants had higher soluble N conc. than that from VAM plants. Leaf total soluble carbohydrates (TSC) increased faster in control plants, but root TSC increased faster in VAM plants over time. VAM infection did not significantly affect total fruit yield per plant, although some vegetative growth parameters of mature plants were affected. Stimulated early growth by VAM results in fruit-bearing at an earlier date, and thus decreased time to yield and economic return.

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