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Kenyatta University (2021)

Exploiting Belowground Biodiversity of Rhizobia and Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi to Upscale Cowpea Production in the Semi-Arid Zones of Eastern Kenya

Muindi, Mercy Martha

Titre : Exploiting Belowground Biodiversity of Rhizobia and Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi to Upscale Cowpea Production in the Semi-Arid Zones of Eastern Kenya

Auteur : Muindi, Mercy Martha

Université de soutenance  : Kenyatta University

Grade : Master of Science (Microbiology) 2021

Résumé partiel
Use of microbial symbionts to promote legume production in the dry lands is of great importance to agriculture. Most soils in dry lands are characterized as being nutrient poor. Inoculation of legumes such as cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and rhizobia has the ability to avail nutrients and water to the plants inherently increasing crop productivity sustainably and enhancing food security. However, there is paucity of data on the identities and efficiencies of native symbiotic microorganisms from lower Eastern Kenya. Therefore, this study aimed at determining the morphological and genetic diversity of native rhizobia strains that nodulate cowpea, assess their symbiotic efficiency (SE), determine the effect of dual inoculation of native rhizobia and AMF on cowpea biomass as well as establish the effect of soil properties on the number of infective AMF propagules. Soil samples were obtained from 10 farms in Embu and Kitui Counties. Four cowpea varieties were used to trap native rhizobia in greenhouse bioassays. Rhizobia were isolated from cowpea nodules and their symbiotic nitrogen fixation efficiency assessed. 16S rRNA gene analysis was used to determine genetic diversity. The number of infective AMF propagules in the soils was estimated using most probable number technique with Cynodon dactylon as the trap host. Cowpea plants were dually inoculated with Rhizophagus irregularis, Funneliformis mosseae and 8 indigenous rhizobia strains

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