Plants must be established quickly on replenished beaches in order to stabilize the sand and begin the dune-building process. The objective of this research was to determine whether inoculation of sea oats (Uniola paniculata L.) with bacteria (indigenous rhizosphere bacteria and N2 fixers) alone or in combination with vesicular-arbuscular myocorrhizal fungi would enhance plant growth in beach sand. At two fertilizer-N levels, Klebsiella pneumoniae and two Azospirillum spp. did not provide the plants with fixed atmospheric N; however, K. pneumoniae increased root and shoot growth. When a sparingly soluble P source (CaHPO4) was added to two sands, K. pneumoniae increased plant growth in sand with a high P content. The phosphorus content of shoots was not affected by bacterial inoculation, indicating that a mechanism other than bacterially enhanced P availability to plants was responsible for the growth increases. When sea oats were inoculated with either K. pneumoniae or Acaligenes denitrificans and a mixed Glomus inoculum, there was no consistent evidence of a synergistic effect on plant growth. Nonetheless, bacterial inoculation increased root colonization by vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi when the fungal inoculum consisted of colonized roots but had no effect on colonization when the inoculum consisted of spores alone. K. pneumoniae was found to increase spore germination and hyphal growth of Glomus deserticola compared with the control. The use of bacterial inoculants to enhance establishment of pioneer dune plants warrants further study.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology