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Keywords:

  • Arachis hypogaea ;
  • inoculation;
  • peanut;
  • Rhizobium ;
  • salinity;
  • salt stress

Abstract

Increasing soil salinity represents a major constraint for agriculture in arid and semi-arid lands, where mineral nitrogen (N) deficiency is also a frequent characteristic of soils. Biological N fixation by legumes may constitute a sustainable alternative to chemical fertilisation in salinity-affected areas, provided that adapted cultivars and inoculants are available. Here, the performance of three peanut cultivars nodulated with two different rhizobial strains that differ in their salt tolerance was evaluated under moderately saline water irrigation and compared with that of N-fertilised plants. Shoot weight was used as an indicator of yield. Under non-saline conditions, higher yields were obtained using N fertilisation rather than inoculation for all the varieties tested. However, under salt stress, the yield of inoculated plants became comparable to that of N-fertilised plants, with minor differences depending on the peanut cultivar and rhizobial strain. Our results indicate that N fixation might represent an economical, competitive and environmentally friendly choice with respect to mineral N fertilisation for peanut cultivation under moderate saline conditions.