INFLUENCE OF MYCORRHIZA ON SELECTED TREE SPECIES: Gliricidia sepium, Acacia auriculiformis, Leucaena leucocephala


INFLUENCE OF MYCORRHIZA ON SELECTED TREE SPECIES: Gliricidia sepium, Acacia auriculiformis, Leucaena leucocephala

ABSTRACT

The influence of mycorrhiza fungi inoculation on the growth performance of Gliricidia sepium, Acacia auriculiformis, and Leucaena leucocephala was studied in a nursery experiment. The results obtained indicated the dependence of Gliricidia sepium, Acacia auriculiformis, and Leucaena leucocephala on mycorhizal symbiosis. Inoculation with mycorrhiza significantly improved the growth performance of Gliricidia sepium, Acacia auriculiformis, and Leucaena leucocephala. The height growth increased significantly by 65% after only three months while the nodulation and root ability increased by 70% and 50% respectively. Inoculation with mycorrhiza did not however cause an increase in nitrogen concentration in the plant tissues (stem, root, and leaves).

                              TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT ............................................................................................................................... ii

CERTIFICATION ................................................................................................................... iii

DEDICATION .......................................................................................................................... iv

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ....................................................................................................... v

TABLE OF CONTENTS .......................................................................................................... vi

LIST OF TABLES .................................................................................................................... ix

LIST OF PLATES ..................................................................................................................... x

TABLES IN APPENDICES ..................................................................................................... xi

CHAPTER ONE ........................................................................................................................ 1

1.0 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................... 1

  1.1Background of the study ................................................................................................... 1

1.2 Statement of the problem ................................................................................................. 2

1.3 Objectives of the study ..................................................................................................... 2

1.4 Justification ...................................................................................................................... 3

1.5 Scope of work................................................................................................................... 3

CHAPTER TWO ....................................................................................................................... 4

2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW ............................................................................................... 4

                                                                                      vi

2.1 The test species and their importance ......................................................................... 4

  2.1.1 Acacia auriculiformis........................................................................................... 4

  2.1.2 Gliricidia sepium ................................................................................................. 5

  2.1.3 Leucaena leucocephala ........................................................................................ 6

2.2 Meaning of Mycorrhiza ............................................................................................... 7

2.3 Types of Mycorrhiza ................................................................................................... 8

2.4 Effects of Mycorrhiza on the growth of trees ........................................................... 9

2.5 Mycorrhiza and Tree Physiology .............................................................................. 10

  2.5.1 Leaf function ...................................................................................................... 11

  2.5.2 Stem Function .................................................................................................... 12

CHAPTER THREE ................................................................................................................. 15

3.0 MATERIALS AND METHODS ....................................................................................... 15

3.1 The Study Site ................................................................................................................ 15

3.2 Procedure for Experimentation ....................................................................................... 15

  3.2.1 Materials for experimentation .................................................................................. 15

  3.2.2 Seed collection, Pre-treatment, and Sowing ............................................................. 16

  3.2.3 Procedure for Mycorrhiza inoculation .................................................................... 16

3.3 Statistical Analysis of Data ............................................................................................. 17

CHAPTER FOUR .................................................................................................................... 22

                                                                                      vii

4.0 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ................................................................................... 22

4.1 RESULTS.................................................................................................................. 22

4.2 DISCUSSION ........................................................................................................... 28

  4.2.1 Effects of Mycorrhiza application on the Growth characteristics of selected tree

  legumes 28

  4.2.2 Effects of Mycorrhiza application on the nodulation and root ability of selected

  tree legumes. ..................................................................................................................... 29

  4.2.3 Effects  of  Mycorrhiza  application  on  the  nitrogen  concentration  in  the  leaf,

  stem and roots of selected tree legumes. .......................................................................... 30

5.0 CONCLUSION ............................................................................................................. 31

REFERENCES ........................................................................................................................ 32

APPENDICES ......................................................................................................................... 38

                                   LIST OF TABLES 

Table  1:  Growth  characteristics  of  selected  tree  legumes  as  influenced  by  mycorrhiza 

application ................................................................................................................................ 22 

Table  2:  Nodulation  and  rootability  of  selected  tree  legumes  as  influenced  by  mycorrhiza 

application. ............................................................................................................................... 24 

Table  3:  Nitrogen  concentration  in  the  leaf,  stem  and  root  in  selected  tree  legume  as 

influenced by mycorrhiza application. ..................................................................................... 26 

                                  LIST OF PLATES 

Plate 1: Experimental layout .................................................................................................... 18 

Plate 2: Readings taking........................................................................................................... 19 

Plate 3: The plants six weeks after planting............................................................................. 20 

Plate 4: Wetting of the test species .......................................................................................... 21 

                              TABLES IN APPENDICES 

Appendices Table 1: Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) for plant Height .............................................. 38 

Appendices Table 2: Analysis of variation (ANOVA) for Number of Leaves ..................................... 38 

Appendices Table 3: Analysis of variation (ANOVA) for Nodulation ................................................ 39 

Appendices Table 4: Analysis of variance (ANOVA) for Root Number ............................................. 39 

                                  CHAPTER ONE 

1.0  INTRODUCTION 

1.1Background of the study 

Successful  establishment  of  most  tropical  woody  legumes  depends  on  their  ability  to  form 

symbiotic  associations  between  their  roots  and  beneficial  micro  organisms rhizobia  and 

Mycorrhiza  (Stahl Hal.,  1988;    Barea  et  al.,  1990;  ). Different  types  of  mycorrhizal  fungi 

form associations with plant roots, but arbuscular Mycorrhiza are by far the most widespread 

type  of  Mycorrhiza  in  nature  (Harley  and  Smith,  1983)  and  are  also  the  most  commonly 

occurring on modulated nitrogen fixing plants (Barea et al., 1992; Hayman, 1986; Roskoski 

et al., 1986) 

Over  2  billion ha of  degraded  land  soils  occur  worldwide  (Grainger  1988,)  Approximately 

30% of the world's land areas are deserts (Hellden 1992) Inoculation of tree seedlings with 

mycrorihiza  fungi,  both  vesicular-arbuscular  mycrorihiza  (VAM)  and  ecto-mycorrhiza, 

significantly improve survival and juvenile growth (Hayman 1983,). Preliminary assessments 

also reveal that inoculation of tropical trees, particularly fast-growing nitrogen-fixing species, 

with VAM fungi will improve survival and juvenile growth (Osonubi et al. 1991)The choice 

of  hedgerow  trees  for  alley  cropping  has  always  been  site,  intercrop  and  situation  specific 

(Nair, 1993). Among the long list of multipurpose tree species that had been found useful in 

alley  cropping,  especially  in  the humid  to  sub-humid  lowland  tropics  of  West  Africa  three 

have  been  used  consistently  by  both  scientists  and  farmers  in  on-farm,  on-station  and 

adopting farmer’s plots. They are Leucaena leucocephala (Lam) de Witt, Gliricidia sepium 

(Jacq) Lam.  Irwin  and  Barneby. However, this  study  will  focus  on  three  selected  agro-

forestry species; Leucaena leucocephala, Gliricidia sepium and Acacia auriculiformis.  

Little information is available about the role of VAM in the water relations of fast-growing 

nitrogen-fixing tree  species  (Michelsen  &  Rosendahl  1990,  Osonubi et  al. 1991). Drought, 

which  leads  to  wilting  of  leaf  tissue, reduces  biomass  production  in Acacia,  Leucaena  and 

Prosopis (Felker et al. 1983, Michelsen & Rosendahl 1990). Assessments in irrigated, fertile 

soil  suggest  that  the  water  relations  of Acacia,  Leucaena and Prosopis species  are  altered 

following  inoculation  with  selected  VAM (Huanget  al. 1985,  Osonubi et  al. 1991). Acacia 

seedlings exhibit drought tolerance characteristics such as osmotic adjustment (Michelsen & 

Rosendahl  1990),  whereas Leucaena species  appear  to  avoid  drought  (Samson  &Pacardo 

1983, Huang et al 1985). 

1.2 Statement of the problem 

Mycorrhiza  is  considered  such  a  fundamental  part  of  the  plant  that  most  species  could  not 

survive  in  nature  without  it.  Shinkafi,  2000  reported  that  most  soil  in  semiarid  zones  are 

marginal  and  deficient  in  nitrogen  and  phosphorus  which  are  principal  element  required  in 

plant growth and development. Adequate supply of mycorrhiza fungi that has been found to 

increase  the  drought  tolerance  of  host plants  (Pandy, 2000; Osunubi  and  Mulongy,  1991). 

This  also  promotes  root  health,  store  carbon  in  soil and  glue  soil  particles  together  into  a 

healthful  porous  structure. It  is  not  yet  understood  how Leucaena  leucocephala,  Gliricidia 

sepium and Acacia  auriculiformis will  respond  to  mycorrhiza  inoculation  during  the  early 

growth stages.   

1.3 Objectives of the study 

The general objective is to determine the effect of Mycorrhiza on three selected tree species. 

The specific objectives are to 

   1. To  evaluate  the  influence  of  Mycorrhiza  application  on  the  rootability  (number  of 

      root, root length) and growth of the selected tree legumes. 

  2. To  investigate  the  effect  of  mycorrhizae  on  the  nodulation  of  the  selected  tree 

      legumes. 

  3. To determine nitrogen storage in the leaf, stem and roots of the selected tree legumes 

    after mycorrhizae application. 

1.4 Justification 

The  use  of  Mycorrhiza  as  a  biological,  ecologically  safe  alternative  to  chemical  treatments 

has  been  gaining  popularity.  Studies  have  indicated  plants  inoculated  to  develop  a 

Mycorrhiza  association and are  healthier  than  plants  that  are  not.  The  use  of  Mycorrhiza 

allows  plants  to  become  more  efficient  in  water  and  nutrient  absorption,  drought  resistant, 

healthier, and less stressed The problem that occurs with soil is that as plants use up nutrients, 

synthetic  fertilizers are used, or new ground is  used for growing  that is  less  than desirable, 

that soil or grow medium  needs to  be re-stimulated. Mycorrhiza lives for just this purpose. 

The better the plant grows, the better they grow; Mycorrhiza fungi increase the root system 

several hundred to several thousand times.    

1.5 Scope of work 

The  study  investigated  the  influence  of  mycorrhiza  inoculation  of  the  early  growth,  root 

development, nodulation and nutrient storage of Gliricidia sepium, Acacia auriculiformis and 

Leucena leucocephala seedlings.  

.

INFLUENCE OF MYCORRHIZA ON SELECTED TREE SPECIES: Gliricidia sepium, Acacia auriculiformis, Leucaena leucocephala



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