BACKGROUND: Owing to its multiple uses in veterinary medicine, biofertilizers, pest control, etc., the commercial cultivation of neem (Azadirachta indica) has been increasing in various countries. The use of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and plant by-products (composted leaves and residues of neem and sugarcane) for the propagation of seedlings can be an efficient alternative to stimulate plant growth, reducing the propagation time and conferring increased tolerance of plants to biotic and abiotic stresses. Therefore this study aimed to evaluate the effect of plant substrates and inoculation with AMF on the production of neem seedlings.
RESULTS: Beneficial effects of the application of neem by-products to neem seedlings were observed on most of the variables analysed. However, the treatment with sugarcane cake did not improve the growth of neem seedlings. In general, the inoculation treatments using Glomus etunicatum in the composted neem substrates improved seedling growth.
CONCLUSION: Neem by-products benefit the growth of seedlings of this plant under greenhouse conditions. Inoculation with G. etunicatum enhances plants growth mainly in substrates with residues of neem leaves, providing an alternative for the production of seedlings of this crop under nursery conditions, which can reduce the need for chemical fertilizers that impact the environment. Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry