- Agronomic: peanuts
- Crop Production: nutrient management
- Production Systems: organic agriculture
- Soil Management: soil microbiology
Nitrogen is an essential and often growth-limiting nutrient for plants. Legumes like peanut (Arachis hypogea) fulfill their nitrogen requirement by symbiotic association with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, rhizobia. This symbiotic interaction results in the formation of root nodules that fix atmospheric nitrogen to enhance the growth and yield of peanuts. In addition to this, peanut yield also depends on variety, farming practice, type of rhizobia inoculation, and nutrient availability. Nutrient availability is largely determined by microbial activity in the rhizosphere that influences plant health, nutrition, yield, soil structure, and soil fertility. However, our understanding of the complex response of peanut yield and microbial diversity to organic vs. conventional farming systems and to rhizobia inoculations is extremely limited.
We propose to study the impacts of conventional vs. organic cultivation practices and rhizobial inoculation with commercial inoculation v. single strain inoculum on peanut yield and soil microbial diversity of five popular peanut cultivars. Results from this research will enable us to dissect the response of cultivar to farming practice and inoculation, allowing us to identify peanut cultivars that are highly responsive to rhizobia inoculation and organic farming practices. The impact of using a single strain vs. multiple strains of inoculum in peanuts will be identified. Moreover, microbial diversity analysis will enable us to identify preferential association of microbes to various genotypes and cropping system. Finally, this research will guide farmers and scientists to improve peanut yield while promoting microbial diversity and increasing sustainability.
Project objectives from proposal:
Objective 1: To determine the effects of different farming practice, rhizobia inoculation, and peanut cultivars and their interactions on peanut yield.
Objective 2: To elucidate the effects of different farming practice, rhizobia inoculation, and peanut cultivars and their interactions on soil microbial diversity.