Open Access Original Research Article

Soil Fertility Evaluation for Coffee (Coffea arabica) in Hai and Lushoto Districts, Northern Tanzania

Godsteven Maro, Balthazar Msanya, Jerome Mrema

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 934-947
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2014/8203

The aim of this study was to evaluate the soil fertility status of selected coffee growing districts of Northern Tanzania and recommend immediate and long term soil management intervention strategies. The study was conducted in Hai and Lushoto Districts, between May and September, 2011. A total of 116 soil augerings and 10 soil profiles were described, and soil samples analyzed for the key fertility parameters. These were evaluated qualitatively by assigning scores against the requirements of Arabica coffee, and quantitatively by calculating the total soil-available nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Spatial assessment of the total soil-available nutrients was done using ArcView GIS 3.2 and ArcGIS 9.3. Soil fertility was found to be considerably low in the study areas, much lower in Lushoto than in Hai. Limitations common to both districts are low P and micronutrients, while the additional ones specific for Lushoto are low cation exchange capacity and exchangeable K. Spatial interpretation revealed interesting trends, which could be explained from the topography of the area and/or the farming practices common in the area. The results are discussed in this paper, and recommendations on appropriate integrated soil fertility management strategies are put forward.

Open Access Original Research Article

The Influence of Stratification on Seedling Emergence and Growth of Narrow-Leaved Lavender and its Cultivars

Agnieszka Dobrowolska, Agnieszka Zawadzińska

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 948-958
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2014/9861

The research was conducted in the years 2009-2011. The research material included narrow-leaved lavender Lavandula angustiolia and its three cultivars: ‘Hidcote Blue Strain’, ‘Hidcote Superior’ and ‘Rosea’. Five variants of seed stratification were used: 1. control (seeds which did not undergo stratification); 2. seeds stratified for 4 weeks; 3. seeds stratified for 6 weeks; 4 seeds stratified for 8 weeks; 5. seeds stratified for 10 weeks. The following measurements and observations were performed during the experiment: earliness of seedling emergence depending on the stratification time, biometric characteristics of the seedling - height, number of leaves, number of stems and the average root length. Seeds of narrow-leaved lavender and its cultivars, emerge more rapidly and effectively when subjected to a stratification treatment at 4oC, as compared to unstratified seeds. Regardless of the taxon, a 4-week stratification period is too short to overcome dormancy in the majority of seeds and to improve their emergence.

Open Access Original Research Article

Effect of Rhizobium Based Biofertilizer Combined with Saccharomyces cerevisiae on the Growth of Hyacinth Bean

Chaitanya Velhal, Mrudula Sant, Tanvi Godbole, Samadhan Waghmode, Chandrashekhar Kulkarni

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 959-968
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2014/9284

Aim: To study the combined effect of Rhizobium isolate and Saccharomyces cerevisiae on the growth of Lablab purpureus (hyacinth bean plant) as a potential bioinoculum for preparation of a novel biofertilizer.
Place of Study: The study was done in the laboratory of MITCON Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Center, Pune, India; between February 2013 to December 2013.
Method: A pot experiment was arranged in two treatments (control and biofertilizer application) and provided with six replications each with 20 pots. Biofertilizer was prepared by mixing the Rhizobial inoculant with activated charcoal that acted as the carrier. Biochemical as well as genetic (16S rRNA sequencing) characterization proved that the isolate was from Rhizobium spp. Seeds were treated by placing in a solution containing S. cerevisiae. The seeds were then sown in pots and allowed to germinate in controlled conditions.
Results: The application of biofertilizer had a significant impact on the growth of hyacinth bean. The treated plants showed 21.7% increase in the shoot length (P value < 0.01), 6% in root length (P value <0.001) and 13.7% increase in the wet weight (P value < 0.01) as compared to control plants grown without the biofertilizer.
Conclusion: The newly prepared biofertilizer shows a significant potential for farmers looking to increase their productivity.

Open Access Original Research Article

Conservation Agriculture: Maize-legume Intensification for Yield, Profitability and Soil Fertility Improvement in Maize Belt Areas of Western Ethiopia

Abebe Zerihun, Birhanu Tadesse, Tadesse Shiferaw, Degefa Kifle

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 969-985
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2014/8797

Conservation agriculture (CA) relies on soil management systems that include three basic principles aiming to produce high crop yields while reducing production costs, saving labor cost, avoiding crop risk failure, maintaining soil fertility and conserving moisture. On-farm experiments were conducted in two district of Western Ethiopia between 2010-2012. There were six treatments on eight farmers’ field corresponding to different maize-bean cropping systems under CA including conventional practice (CP) for maize as control Rainfall variability and cropping systems with CA significantly affected yield of bean and maize. Significantly higher yield of early maturing haricot bean either planted as sole or intercrops were recorded in 2012 cropping season as compared to late maturing soybean. In high moisture stress season, a significant reduction of both bean and maize yields were recorded. In the rotation system, soybean used as precursor instead of haricot bean significantly improved yield performance of maize. Maize-bean intercropping considerably gave the highest production, increased water use efficiency and maximum net income as compared to crop rotation or continuous production in CA or farmers practices. However, maize-common bean intercrop is better in terms of yield and water use efficiency though soybean-maize intercrops is better in good rainy season. In intercropping systems, delaying bean planting after 25 days of maize planting significantly reduced yield as compared to that obtained after simultaneous planting. CA practices reduced by more than 31-42% total labor time required for ploughing as compared to that under CP. Up to half of labor time for weeding could be reduced due to CA practices. In particular, intercropping had the highest contribution for weed control. Though CA-based maize-bean intercropping followed by sole maize production had the highest net benefit, sole bean production after rotation gave the highest net return per unit cost that could be strategies for sustainable crop production and improvement. Continuous production of legume crops and maize mono cropping reduced soil pH though not significant. However, crop rotation and intercropping in combination with CA improved cation exchange capacity, soil pH, organic carbon and even total nitrogen though not significantly changed. Therefore, intercropping and crop rotation practices could be the best promising technologies that would improve for sustainable production and soil improvement.

Open Access Original Research Article

Soil Fertility Maps Preparation Using GPS and GIS in Dhenkanal District, Odisha, India

Antaryami Mishra, Truptimayee Pattnaik, D. Das, Mira Das

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 986-994
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2014/9325

Soil fertility maps of Dhenkanal district, Odisha were prepared by using Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) to make awareness among the farmers regarding use of balanced fertilization according to soil test based recommendation and integrated nutrient management for higher and sustainable crop production. Soils of different villages for each block were collected by GPS instrument. These soil samples were processed and analysed in laboratory using standard methods. The soil characteristics data were entered in attributed table and linked with the GIS software to develop a relational database. The analogue soil fertility maps on 1:25000 scale were geo-referenced and digitized by using ArcGIS software. Thematic layers were developed for block boundaries to prepare the base map. Superimposing polygons (Spatial coverage) of block units and the base map, soil fertility maps were prepared. These maps were integrated in GIS to generate a composite database of GPS based soil of Dhenkanal district. These maps were divided into 8 mapping units (8blocks of Dhenkanal district). Based on the generated soil fertility maps, the status of organic carbon, available N, available P, available K, available S and micronutrients like Boron was assessed and suitable crops such as rice, fingermillet, pulses, vegetables and fruit crops have been identified.

Open Access Original Research Article

The Effect of Biochar Source on Cotton Seedling Growth and Development and Association with Conventional Fertilizers

J. M. Burke, D. E. Longer, D. M. Oosterhuis, E. M. Kawakami, D. A. Loka

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 995-1008
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2014/9979

Aims: Growth chamber experiments were performed in order to determine the influence that biochars originating from two separate sources (mixed-hardwoods and poultry litter) have on the growth and development of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) seedlings used alone or in combination with conventional fertilizers.
Study Design: The treatments consisted of a 3 by 3 full-factorial arrangement of biochar and fertilizer rates organized in a complete randomized design.
Place and Duration of Study: The trials were conducted in the fall of 2010 and 2012 at the Altheimer Laboratory located at the University of Arkansas Research and Extension Station, Fayetteville, Arkansas (USA).
Methodology: In both experiments, 54 1.5 liter pots were each filled with 1.8 kilograms of a Captina silt loam soil (Typic fragiudult). Both biochar types were added to pots at three equivalent rates: (1) no biochar (control); (2) 5,000 kg/ha; and (3) 10,000 kg/ha while fertilizer was also added to pots at three equivalent rates: (1) no fertilizer (control); (2) 31-23-49 kg/ha (N-P-K); and (3) 62-46-98 kg/ha (N-P-K). The plants were grown for eight weeks and then harvested. Data collected at harvest included plant height, chlorophyll content, leaf area, number of main-stem nodes and number of fruits along with plant dry matter.
Results: Both biochar types contributed to increases in numerous plant developmental characteristics. Statistical analysis showed that the hardwood chip based biochar had a more pronounced influence on most plant developmental measurements compared to the poultry litter based biochar. The main effect of biochar in 2010 demonstrated significant increases regarding response variables such as leaf area; control (654.41 cm2), highest rate of biochar (748.63 cm2) (P < .0001), stem dry matter; control (5.08 g), highest rate of biochar (6.08 g) (P < .0001) and fruit dry matter; control (0.20 g), highest rate of biochar (0.52 g) (P < .0001). The main effect of biochar in 2010 also significantly decreased chlorophyll content; control (53.80 SPAD units), highest rate of biochar (50.03 SPAD units) (P < .0001) and average node length; control (4.08 cm), highest rate of biochar (3.89 cm) (P = .001). The main effect of biochar in 2012 resulted in significant increases in the response variables of stem dry matter; control (2.87 g), highest rate of biochar (3.25 g) (P = .040), leaf dry matter; control (3.66 g), highest rate of biochar (4.21 g) (P = .010) and total plant dry matter; control (6.71 g), highest rate of biochar (7.55 g) (P = .032). Statistical analysis showed that the main effect of biochar in 2010 slightly surpassed the effects of the fertilizer main effect while generating more significant responses than the interaction of biochar and fertilizer. Further statistical analysis demonstrated that the main effect of fertilizer in 2012 exceeded the biochar main effect and an interaction between biochar and fertilizer was not observed.
Conclusion: Analyses of individual biochar rates for both experiments, along with the interaction of biochar and fertilizer treatments in 2010, demonstrated that the mixed-hardwoods based biochar had a more positive effect on cotton plant development than the poultry litter based biochar. Additional research is needed concerning the nature and ability of biochars of different origins to slowly release plant available nutrients over time that can contribute to cotton production.

Open Access Original Research Article

Performance of Stress Indices in Assessing High Yield Potential of Rice Genotypes in Sulfur Deficient Soil

M.V Sriramachandrasekharan, R. Manivannan, M Ravichandran

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1009-1017
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2014/10145

Aim: To recognize the rice genotypes based on stress indices which would give higher yield both under sulfur stress and non-stress conditions.
Design Factorial Randomized design with two factors
Place and Duration of Study: It was conducted in the farmers field( Chidambaram and Kuthalam in Tamilnadu, India and during Kharif season ( June to September , 2009)
Methodology: Field experiments were conducted in two soils Kondal series (Typic Haplusterts- Vertisol) and Padugai series (Typic Ustifluvents- Entisol). The treatment details are factor A–S levels ( 0 & 10 mg S kg-1) applied through gypsum and Factor B- Rice genotypes (ADT 43,CO 47,ADT 39,CO 43,ADT 42,ASD 19,ADT 36,ADT 37,ADT 38 and CO45). The yield data from two soils was used to calculate for each genotype 1) Stress tolerance (TOL) 2) Mean productivity (MP) 3) Geometric mean productivity (GMP) 4) Stress susceptibility index (SSI) and 5) Stress tolerance index (STI).
Results: Grain yield varied significantly (P=0.05) among rice genotypes regardless of S treatments. Without added S treatment CO 43 (4865 kg ha-1) and CO 47 (5025 kg ha-1) produced highest grain yield and ADT 36 (3437,3775 kg ha-1) produced lowest yield in Kondal and Padugai series, respectively. Stress susceptibility index (SSI) and stress tolerance index (TOL) was associated with low yield under S sufficient condition. But stress tolerance index, mean productivity (MP) and geometric mean productivity (GMP) was able to identify top yielders both under S stress and non stress situations because of very strong correlation with yield. Accordingly best performers based on STI under both S stress and non- stress were ADT 43, CO 47, ADT 39 and CO 43.

Open Access Original Research Article

Uptake and Accumulation of Aluminium, Copper and Cobalt in Tissue Cultured Melastoma malabathricum Linn. Plantlets

Wilson Thau Lym Yong, Joan Li Jett Chang, Vun Yee Thien, Harry Lye Hin Chong, Janna Ong Abdullah

International Journal of Plant & Soil Science, Page 1018-1030
DOI: 10.9734/IJPSS/2014/10253

Aims: This study was carried out to investigate the metal tolerance levels of Melastoma malabathricum Linn. plantlets.
Study Design: The metal tolerance levels of M. malabathricum L. were examined using an in vitro approach. The ability of the plant to survive in tissue culture medium containing aluminium (Al), copper (Cu) and cobalt (Co) were assessed.
Place and Duration of Study: The study was carried out in the Plant Culture Laboratory, Biotechnology Research Institute, Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), between September 2011 and February 2013.
Methodology: M. malabathricum L. plantlets were cultured on half strength MS media supplemented with Al, Cu and Co at concentrations ranging from 0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 to 2.0 mM. The growth and survival of the plantlets were observed at every 10 days of treatment and the metals accumulation levels in the leaves and roots were analyzed after 30 days of culture.
Results: The order of the survival rate for M. malabathricum L. plantlets subjected to these three metals was demonstrated to be Al > Cu > Co in the highest metal concentration tested. More accumulation of Al was observed in the roots, and Cu was found to be higher than Co in the leaves.
Conclusion: Data obtained from this study on the potential uptake and accumulation of toxic metals for M. malabathricum L. will be used in future for the development of this plant species as a phytoremediator.