Response of pea and lentil to inoculation with the phosphate-solubilizing fungus Penicillium bilaii (Provide™)
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Researchers previously reported that inoculation with the soil fungus Penicillium bilaii increased dry matter production, phosphate (P) uptake, and grain yield of wheat (Triticum eestivum), canola (Brassica napus, B. campestris), and bean (Pheseolus vulgaris) by solubilizing otherwise unavailable forms of P. This study was conducted to determine if pea (Pisum setivum) and lentil (Lens cuilinaris) plants inoculated with P. bilaii are able to source otherwise unavailable forms of P and if inoculation with P. bilaii interferes with the activity of Rhizobium leguminosarum on pea and lentil. Research was conducted in the growth chamber and at 19 field locations over two years to determine the effects of inoculating pea or lentil seed with P. bilaii (ATCC No. 20851) or R. leguminoserum (USDA No. 2449), singly or in combination, on the vegetative growth, nodulation, P uptake, nitrogen (N) uptake, and grain yield of pea or lentil. Inoculation with P. bilaii increased total dry matter production and P uptake of pea shoots in the growth chamber experiment and of pea and lentil shoots in P-responsive field trials. Increases in P uptake following inoculation with P. bilaii occurred both with and without P fertilizer, were greatest at early growth stages, and were equivalent to those obtained by uninoculated plants which received greater amounts of P fertilizer. Inoculation with P. bilaii caused increased nodulation and N uptake of pea in the growth chamber study, and increased N uptake of pea and lentil in field studies. In 1989 field trials, all treatments interacted to increase the grain yield of pea, while in 1991 inoculation with P. bilaii or application of P fertilizer had little consistent effect on pea grain yield. Inoculation with P. bilaii increased lentil grain yield under P-responsive conditions. Inoculation with P. bilaii increased P availability and uptake of pea and lentil most likely by solubilizing unavailable soil P. Penicillium bilaii was compatible with R. leguminosarum. Penicillium bilaii is registered for use in Canada on wheat, canola, pea, and lentil under the trade name PROVIDE™.
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