Title page for ETD etd-09042012-154615

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Nzanza, Bombiti
Email s24493024@tuks.co.za
URN etd-09042012-154615
Document Title Seedling quality, plant growth and fruit yield and quality of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) in response to Trichoderma harzianum and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
Degree PhD
Department Plant Production and Soil Science
Advisor Name Title
Prof P Soundy Co-Supervisor
Dr D Marais Supervisor
  • seedling quality
  • plant growth
  • arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
Date 2012-09-07
Availability unrestricted
Existing evidence suggested that nursery inoculation with Trichoderma harzianum and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) could reduce deleterious effects of biotic and abiotic stresses and improve seedling quality, fruit yield and quality of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.). However, studies of their combined inoculation on seedling growth, fruit yield and quality of tomato plants are not well-documented. Experiments were carried out to investigate the combined effect of T. harzianum and AMF on tomato crop performance under various conditions. When combined with a T. harzianum and AMF mixture, seaweed extract from Ecklonia maxiama inhibited AMF root colonisation of tomato seedlings. Treating seedlings with a mixture of T. harzianum and AMF reduced the incidence of Verticillium wilt in tomato grown in a nethouse at early season, with negligible effect on fruit yield. Further investigations were initiated to find out whether T. harzianum and AMF were efficient when applied as a mixture or alone, at different inoculation times. Co-inoculation with T. harzianum and AMF (Glomus mosseae) improved seedling growth and development, except when both fungi were simultaneously applied two weeks after sowing. When the seedlings were allowed to grow up until full harvest in a greenhouse, both fungal inoculants increased total yield and marketable yield, but these increases were not significant. Furthermore, inoculation with AMF increased the percentage of extra-large fruit. Field experiments conducted under commercial tomato production confirmed greenhouse studies. Inoculation of tomato with T. harzianum and AMF, either alone or in combination increased early fruit yield (four first harvesting weeks). Throughout the studies, percentage AMF root colonisation in seedlings and plants remained low, despite nursery inoculation. Field experiments investigated the effects of AMF-inoculated transplants combined with biochar-amended soils on AMF root colonisation and their resultant effects on overall crop performance and microbial community structure. Biochar had no effect on AMF root colonisation, and also when combined with AMF, it had no influence on tomato productivity. Interestingly, biochar altered the fungal community while AMF might have influenced the bacterial community such as plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria, which are associated with improved plant growth, nutrient uptake and disease control in the rhizosphere. These benefits could contribute to improved yield and fruit quality. In conclusion, although the results were variable, there was a clear indication that T. harzianum and AMF can play an important role in tomato production.

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Please cite as follows:

Nzanza, B 2011, Seedling quality, plant growth and fruit yield and quality of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) in response to Trichoderma harzianum and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09042012-154615 / >


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