Physiological and Biochemical Behaviors of Date Palm Vitroplants Treated with Microbial Consortia and Compost in Response to Salt Stress
The main challenge of the agricultural sector is to develop new ecological technologies that increase the yields and the tolerance of crops to abiotic constraints, especially in arid areas. The objective of this study was to test the potential roles of biofertilizers, namely, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), a native AMF consortium (AMF1) and an exotic AMF strain (AMF2); plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR); and compost (comp), applied separately or in combination, in improving the tolerance of date palm vitroplants to salt stress. Plants were grown under non-stressed (0 mM NaCl) or stressed conditions (120 and 240 mM NaCl). Salt stress negatively affected growth and physiological parameters. However, biofertilizers used alone or in combination increased these traits in either the presence or absence of salinity. The two tripartite combinations PGPR+AMF1+Comp and PGPR+AMF2+Comp efficiently increased plant height compared to the controls, with respective enhancements of 47% and 48% under non-stressed conditions (0 mM), 44% and 43% under 120 mM NaCl and 42% and 41% under 240 mM NaCl. Moreover, under 240 mM NaCl level, the PGPR, AMF1+Comp and PGPR+AMF1+Comp treatments improved the shoot dry weight by 128%, 122% and 113% respectively compared to the stressed control plants submitted to 240 mM NaCl. The tripartite combinations PGPR+AMF1/AMF2+Comp improved salt stress tolerance of plants by increasing plant growth, accumulation of osmotic adjustment compounds and antioxidant enzyme activity compared to control plants and the other treatments.