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Maize plant growth response to whole rhizosphere microbial communities in different mineral N and P fertilization scenarios

López-Carmona, Dante A., Alarcón, Alejandro, Martínez-Romero, Esperanza, Peña-Cabriales, Juan José, Larsen, John
Rhizosphere 2019 v.9 pp. 38-46
biomarkers, corn, fatty acids, fertilizer application, greenhouse experimentation, microbial communities, mycorrhizae, mycorrhizal fungi, nitrogen, nitrogen content, nitrogen fertilizers, nutrition, phosphorus fertilizers, plant growth, plant response, rhizosphere
With the objective to examine maize plant response to whole rhizosphere microbial communities in terms of growth and nutrition, we performed a greenhouse pot experiment with full mineral fertilization except for N and P, which were applied in a fully factorial set-up (Without, with N, with P and with N+P). Rhizosphere microbial communities were measured in terms of mycorrhiza formation and biomarker fatty acids. Whole rhizosphere microbial communities promoted plant growth with single N fertilization (P limitation), whereas negative plant growth responses were observed without fertilization (N and P limitation), single P fertilization (N limitation) and dual N and P fertilization (no nutrient limitation). Whole rhizosphere microbial communities increased and decreased shoot N content without and with N fertilization, respectively. On the other hand whole rhizosphere microbial communities increased shoot P content both with and without P fertilization, though more without P. The observed plant growth and shoot nutrient response to whole rhizosphere microbial communities seems to be linked to the root association with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and abundance of rhizosphere microorganisms. In conclusion, our results show that maize plant response to whole rhizosphere microbial communities in terms of growth and nutrition is strongly associated with N and P fertilization balance.