Printer Friendly


Byline: S. Noor, M. Yaseen, M. Naveed and R. Ahmad


Use efficiency of soil applied phosphatic fertilizers in calcareous soils is less than 25%. Phosphorus from these fertilizers becomes fixed or precipitated by Ca+2 and Mg+2 in such soils. This efficiency can be improved by using phosphorus-solubilizing bacteria (PSB). A pot study was conducted to investigate the comparative impact of different levels of diammonium phosphate (DAP) fertilizer impregnated with Pseudomonas putida biotype A (Q7) on growth attributes and phosphorus use efficiency (PUE) of maize in comparison to conventionally used DAP fertilizer. The culture of pre-isolated phosphate solubilizing bacterial strain Q7 was used to impregnate phosphatic fertilizers with the help of molasses used as carbon source. In general, microbial inoculation is known to be effective for enhancing nutrient use efficiency. However, results showed that impregnated phosphatic fertilizer (DAP) improved maize growth and dry matter yield up to 12% over conventional DAP fertilizer.

Use efficiencies of impregnated DAP i.e. up to 62% increase of agronomic efficiency and 8% increase of physiological efficiency over control. Similarly, phosphors uptake was also increased with impregnated DAP by 33% over conventional DAP application. Results may imply that impregnation of DAP fertilizer could be a novel approach for improving growth and P - use efficiency of maize crop.

Keywords: Impregnation, maize, DAP, PUE, Pseudomonas putida.


Low use efficiency (UE) is the major drawback of phosphorus in all soils particularly in calcareous soils. In these soils, applied inorganic P immediately precipitated with Ca+2 and Mg+2 (Pradhan and Sukla, 2005; Aziz et al., 2016) and thus lead to low productivity of crops. Without use of inorganic P, it is impossible to get target yield from a cereal crop. This inefficient use of inorganic P will emerge as root cause of persistent low yield. A decrease in the use of inorganic P is taken as an alarming sign for low production by all researchers (Yaseen et al., 2014).

In Pakistan, maize is the 3rd most important cereal crop and mostly cultivated on calcareous soils. Due to high pH and low organic matter, about 90% of these soils are deficient in P (Ahmad and Rashid, 2004).

Maize production per unit area in Pakistan is still less than the neighboring countries. This is due to low PUE (90% of arable lands) are calcareous in nature with pertaining situations of high pH, low organic matter (< 1%), extensive farming without proper crop rotation (NFDC, 2003; Aulakh, 2010). All these factors are the big constrains for low productively potential of maize in Pakistan as P is the 2nd most critical macronutrients and any reduction in its application causes an incredible reduction in yield. So, the only way to put off such great losses is to make chemical P fertilizers more efficient. Microbes can play important role in increasing nutrient use efficiency (Trolove et al., 2003, Lucy et al., 2004). Phosphorus solubilizing bacteria (PSB) have the potential to solubilize unavailable soil P mainly by chelation-mediated mechanism (Shahroona et al., 2007a).

These bacteria enhance the P availability to plants by mineralizing organic P in the soil or by solubilizing precipitated phosphates (Parani and Saha, 2012). In the present study, we evaluated the potential of P. putida for improving growth and P use efficiency of fertilizer and making P fertilizers.

Better root growth is considered as prerequisite for healthy plant growth. Ion uptake, soil nutrient supply and root morphology had consistently indicated the importance of root morphology parameters in the uptake of a variety of nutrients especially N, P and K (Barber and Silverbush, 1984; German et al., 2000). The plant root development was affected by the application of phosphate solubilizing bacteria (Shaharoona et al., 2006a). External application of PSB with fertilizers enhanced soluble P in the solution and this had a positive impact on root growth (Shaharoona et al., 2007). Root growth is not only sensitive to external concentration of nutrients but also regulated by plant growth regulating substances, such as auxins (Salisbury, 1994) and ethylene (Arshad and Frenkenberger, 2002).

The root development and plant biomass were correlated with the higher availability of P; moreover, the beneficial effects of applied bacteria have been attributed to their ability to produce various compounds such as phytohormones, vitamins and siderophores (Arshad and Frankenberger, 1993). Results of this study revealed that pots having addition of impregnated DAP could make more biomass by accelerating photosynthesis rate (Cleyet-Marcel et al., 2001; Khalid et al., 2004) as improved chlorophyll content are the evidence for this regard. The pH of the soil tightly regulated the P availability and whenever PSB are applied in soils, these release organic acids and acid phosphatase that are involved in mineralization of organic P in soils (Reddy et al., 2002; Fernandez et al., 2007). The activity of acids and enzymes result in acidification of microbial cell and its surrounding.

The temporary acidic surroundings in alkaline soils enhanced availability of P to plants that also influenced the uptake of other nutrients (Grichko and Glick, 2001; Dobbelaere et al., 2003). Thus, it can be assumed that root growth in term of more biomass can be obtained if PSB like Bacillus sp. and Pseudomonas sp. are inoculated into soil low in P status because these strains are responsible for more P solubilization and more nutrient and water uptake (Khan, 2005). Several researchers have used different Pseudomonas species as a bioinoculant for improving crop productivity (Zaida et al., 2003; Naveed et al., 2008; Shaharoona et al., 2008). Phosphorus use efficiency was increased in response to fertilizer impregnation (Table 3), most likely due to increased root growth that exploited more soil volume for efficient uptake of nutrients by plants, resulting in more biomass production.

In addition, the maximum PUE was recorded under low level P (i.e. 50% of recommended P), these results are also supported by Shaharoona et al. (2007). This improvement in P use efficiency occurred might be due to P solubilizing potential of P. putida biotype A (Q7) impregnated on DAP fertilizer granules. This strain of Pseudomonas made P available to plants for uptake either chelating newly added P or solubilizing precipitated P in the soil. As the P. putida biotype A (Q7) was impregnated over DAP, so the chelating mechanism might be predominant for the higher P use efficiency in maize. This improvement in P efficiency caused an increase in plant growth. This improvement in plant growth (Tables 1 and 2) might be due to P mediated N or K uptake because corresponding increase in uptakes of N and K also occurred as uptake of P improved (Figure 2).

When P availability with other essential nutrients is increased due to PSB, then the improvement in growth and developmental processes occurred (Cakmakci et al., 2005), that caused improvement in plant biomass. These PSB caused more nutrient uptake by plants by the action of chelating substances (Puente et al., 2004). The PSB also indirectly influence N uptake by plant by controlling the P concentration in soil (Reed and Glick, 2004). That is why; there was more N concentration in plant shoots where more P concentration in shoot due to addition of PSB with fertilizers (Jodie et al., 2006). In short, impregnation of phosphatic fertilizers was effective even at reduced rates of chemical fertilizers. Further research is needed to explore the potential of impregnated phosphatic fertilizers in different agro ecological zone under field conditions. The research work should be extended for field recommendations and consistent yield increase.

Acknowledgement: The research work reported in this manuscript is part of the Ph.D dissertation funded by HEC under Indigenous Scholarship Program.


Ahmad, N., and M. Rashid (2004). Fertilizer and their use in Pakistan. Government of Pakistan and Development Division, NFDC, Islamabad.

Arshad, M., and W.T. Frankenberger Jr (2002). Ethylene: agricultural sources and applications. Kluwer, New York.

Arshad, M., and W.T. Frankenberger Jr (1993). Microbial production of plant growth regulators, In: Metting B, editor. Soil Microbial Ecology. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York, USA. pp. 307-347.

Aulakh, M.S. (2010). Integrated nutrient management for sustainable crop production, improving crop quality and soil health and minimizing environmental pollution. 19th World Congr. of Soil Sci. Soil Solutions for a Changing World. Brisbane, Australia.

Aziz, M. Z., M. Yaseen, M. Naveed and M. Shahid (2016). Promoting fertilizer use efficiency of wheat via controlled release of phosphorus by coating alginate loaded bacteria on diammonium phosphate. 3rd Conference of the World Association of Soil and Water Conservation, August 22-26, Belgrade, Republic of Serbia.

Barber, S.A., and M. Silverbush (1984). Plant root morphology and nutrient uptake. In: Barber S.A., D.R. Bouldin, D.M. Kral, and S.L. Hawkins, editors. Roots, Nutrients and Water Influx and Plant Growth. ASA special publication number 49. American Society of Agronomy, Madison, WI, pp. 65-81.

Bumb, B.L., and C.A. Baanante (1996). The role of fertilizer in sustaining food security and protecting the environment to 2020. International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, D.C. USA.

Cakmakci, R., D. Donmez, A. Aydin, and F. Sahin (2005). Growth promotion of plant by plant growth promoting rhizobacteria under green house and two different soil conditions. Soil Biol. Biochem. 38: 1482-1487.

Chapman, H.J., and P.F. Pratt (1961). Phosphorus in the method for soil plant and water. University of California, Riverside, USA.

Cleyet-Marcel, J.C., M. Larcher, H. Bertrand, S. Rapior, and X. Pinochet (2001). Plant growth enhancement by rhizobacteria. In: Morot-Gaudry, J.F., editor. Nitrogen Assimilation by Plants: Physiological, Biochemical and Molecular Aspects, Science Publishers Inc, Plymouth, pp. 185-197.

Dobbelaere, S., J. Vanderleyden, and Y. Okon (2003). Plant growth promoting effects of diazotrophs in the rhizosphere. Crit. Rev. Plant Sci. 22: 107-149.

Fernandez, L.A., P. Zalba, M.A Gomez, and M.A. Sagardoy (2007). Phosphate solubilization activity of bacterial strains in soil and their effect on soybean growth under greenhouse conditions. Biol. Fertil. Soils. 43: 805-809.

German, M. A., S. Burdman, Y. Okon, and J. Kigel (2000). Effects of Azospirillum brasilense on root morphology of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) under different water regimes. Biol. Fertil. Soils 32: 259-264.

Grichko, V. P., and B. R. Glick (2001). Flooding tolerance of transgenic tomato plants expressing the bacterial enzyme ACC deaminase controlled by the 35S, rolD or PRB-1b promoter. Plant Physiol. Biochem. 39: 19-25.

Harrington, J. T., J. G. Mexal, and J. T. Fisher (1994). Volume displacement provides a quick and accurate way to quantify new root production. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Jackson, M. I., (1962). Chemical composition of soil. In: Bean FE, editor. Chemistry of Soil. Van Nostr and Co., New York, USA, pp. 71-144.

Jilani, G., A. Akram, R.M. Ali, F.Y. Hafeez, I. H. Shamsi, A. N. Chaudhry, and A. G. Chaudhry (2007). Enhancing crop growth, nutrients availability, economics and beneficial rhizosphere microflora through organic and biofertilizers. Ann. Microbiol. 57: 177-183.

Jodie, N.H., B.N. Peter, and M.M. Peter (2006). Laboratory tests can predict beneficial effects of phosphate-solubilizing bacteria on plants. Soil Biol. Biochem. 38: 1521-1526.

Jones, J.J.B., B. Wolf, and H.A. Mills (1991). Methods of elemental analysis. In: Plant Analysis Handbook. Micro-Macro Publishing Inc., Athens, GA, USA. Pp. 27-38.

Khalid, A., M. Arshad, and Z.A. Zahir (2004). Screening plant growth promoting rhizobacteria for improving growth and yield of wheat. J. Appl. Microbiol. 96: 473-480.

Khan, A.G. (2005). Role of soil microbes in the rhizospheres of plants growing on trace metal contaminated soils in phytoremediation. J. Trace Elements Med. Biol. 18: 355-364.

Lucy, M., E. Reed, and B.R. Glick (2004). Application of free living plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 86: 1-25.

Moodie, C.D., H.W. Smith, and R.A. McCreery (1959). Lab. Manual of Soil Fertility. Dept. Agron. State College of Washington, Pullman. 13: 31-39.

NFDC. (2003). Fertilizer Recommendations for Crops: Fertilizer Recommendations in Pakistan (a pocket guide for extension workers). National Fertilizer Development Centre, Islamabad, Pakistan.

Naveed, M., M. Khalid, D.L. Jones, R. Ahmad, and Z.A. Zahir (2008). Relative efficacy of Pseudomonas spp., containing ACC-deaminase for improving growth and yield of maize (Zea mays L.) in the presence of organic fertilizer. Pakistan J. Bot. 40: 1243-1251.

Nautiyal, C.S. (1999). An efficient microbiological growth medium for screening phosphate solubilizing microorganisms. FEMS Microbiol. Lett. 170: 265- 270.

Olsen, S.R., C.V. Cole, F.S. Watanabe and L.A. Dean (1954). Estimation of available phosphorus in soils by extraction with sodium bicarbonate. Circular No. 939, USDA. US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Parani, K., and B.K. Saha (2012). Prospects of using phosphate solubilizing Pseudomonas as bio-fertilizer. Eur. J. Biol. Sci. 4: 40-44.

Pradhan, N., and L.B. Sukla (2005). Solubilization of inorganic phosphate by fungi isolated from agriculture soil. Afr. J. Biotechnol. 5: 850-854.

Puente, M.E., Y. Bashan, C.Y. Li, and V.K. Lebsky (2004). Microbial populations and activities in the rhizoplane of rock-weathering desert plants. Root colonization and weathering of igneous rocks. Plant Biol. 6: 629-642.

Reddy, M.S., S. Kumar, and K. Babita (2002). Biosolubilization of poorly soluble rock phosphates by Aspergillus tubingensis and Aspergillus niger. Bioresour. Technol. 84: 187- 189.

Reed, M.L.E., and B.R. Glick (2004). Applications of free living plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, Anton. Leeuw. 86: 1-25.

Riggs, P.J., M.K. Chelius, A.L. Iniguez, S.M. Kaeppler, and E.W. Triplett (2001). Enhanced maize productivity by inoculation with diazotrophic bacteria. Aust. J. Plant. Physiol. 28: 829-836.

Rodriguez, H., T. Gonzalez, I. Goire, and Y. Bashan (2004). Gluconic acid production and phosphate solubilization by the plant growth-promoting bacterium Azospirillum spp. Naturwissenschaften 91: 552-555.

Salisbury, F.B. (1994). The role of plant hormones. In: Wilkinson, R.E., editor. Plant Environment Interactions. Marcel Dekker, New York, USA, pp 39-91.

Shaharoona, B., M. Arshad, and Z.A. Zahir (2006a). Effect of plant growth promoting rhizobacteria containing ACC-deaminase on maize (Zea mays L.) growth under axenic conditions and on nodulation in mung bean (Vigna radiata L.). Lett. Appl. Microbiol. 42: 155-159.

Shaharoona, B., M. Arshad, Z.A. Zahir, and A. Khalid (2006b). Performance of Pseudomonas spp. containing ACC-deaminase for improving growth and yield of maize (Zea mays L.) in the presence of nitrogenous fertilizer. Soil Biol. Biochem. 38: 2971-2975.

Shaharoona, B., G.M. Jamro, Z.A. Zahir, M. Arshad, and K.S. Memon (2007). Effectiveness of various Pseudomonas spp. and Burkholderia caryophylli containing ACC-deaminase for improving growth and yield of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). J. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 17(8): 1300-1307.

Shaharoona, B., M. Naveed, M. Arshad, and Z.A. Zahir (2008). Fertilizer dependent efficiency of Pseudomonads for improving growth, yield and nutrient use efficiency of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). Appl. Microbiol. Biotechnol. 79: 147-155.

Steel, R.G.D., J.H. Torrie, and D.A. Dickey (1997). Principles and Procedures of Statistics. 2nd ed. McGraw Hill Inc., New York, USA.

Tilmen, D., C. Balger, J. Hill, and B.L. Befort (2011). Global food demand and the sustainable intensification of agriculture. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 108: 20260-20264.

Timilsena, Y.P., R. Adhikarib, P. Caseyb, T. Musterb, H. Gilla, and B. Adhikaria (2015). Enhanced efficiency fertilizers: A review of formulation and nutrient release patterns. J. Sci. Food Agric. 95: 1131-1142.

Topp, G.C., Y.T. Galganov, B.C. Ball, and M.R. Carter (1993). Soil water desorption curves. In: Carter, M.R., editor. Soil Sampling and Methods of Analysis. Can. Soc. Sci. Lewis Publishers, Boca Raton, Florida, USA, pp. 569-579.

Trolove, S.N., M.J. Hedley, G.J.D. Kirk, N.S. Bolan, and P. Loganathan (2003). Progress in selected areas of rhizosphere research on P acquisition. Aust. J. Soil Sci. 41: 471-499.

Wolf, B. (1982). The comprehensive system of leaf analysis and its use for diagnosing crop nutrient status. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant. Anal. 13: 1035-1059.

Walkley, A., and I.A. Black (1934). A critical examination of a rapid method for determining organic carbon in soil: effect of variations in digestion conditions and of inorganic soil constituents. Soil Sci. 37: 29- 38.

Yaseen, M., M.A.F. Bajwa, W. Ahmed, S. Noor, and M.A. Khalid (2014). Improving growth, yield and phosphorus use efficiency of wheat by using smart fertilizer developed at UAF. Paper presented and abstract published in the "International Conference of Plant Science (ICPS)" organized by GC University, Lahore Pakistan from 22-24 September, 2014, Pakistan.

Zaida, A., M.S. Khan, and M.D. Amil (2003). Interactive effect of rhizotrophic microorganisms on yield and nutrient uptake of chickpea (Cicer arientinum L.). Eur. J. Agron. 19: 15-21.
COPYRIGHT 2017 Asianet-Pakistan
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2017 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Oct 31, 2017

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters