Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and biochar improves drought tolerance in chickpea

Abeer Hashem*, Ashwani Kumar, Abeer M. Al-Dbass, Abdulaziz A. Alqarawi, Al Bandari Fahad Al-Arjani, Garima Singh, Muhammad Farooq, Elsayed Fathi Abd_Allah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) inoculation and biochar amendment has been reported to improve growth of several crop plants however their role in stress amelioration individually as well as in combination has not been worked out. This experiment was conducted to evaluate the application of AMF and biochar on the performance of chickpea under drought stress. The treatments included the individual as well as combined treatment of AMF and biochar to drought stressed and normal chickpea plants. Plants inoculation improved growth in terms of shoot and root length, leaf area and number of branches which was observed to show a steep decline due to drought stress. Drought declined the AMF colonization potential though biochar amendment ameliorated the negative effects of drought significantly by improving the spore population, number of mycelium, vesicle and arbuscules and the percentage of colonization as well. Increased chlorophyll synthesis in biochar and AMF treated plants was obvious, which lead to significant enhancement in the net photosynthetic efficiency. Drought stress also declined the relative water content (RWC) and membrane stability index (MSI), while treatment of biochar and AMF either individually or in combination mitigated the deleterious effects to considerable extent and caused a significant enhancement in RWC and MSI under normal conditions. Amendments with biochar and AMF inoculation increased the nitrogen fixation attributes including the number and weight of nodules, leghemoglobin content and activity of nitrate reductase enzyme leading to greater uptake and assimilation of nitrogen in them when compared to drought stressed plants. Drought stressed chickpea plants exhibited considerable reduction in uptake of nitrogen and phosphorous which was ameliorated by biochar and AMF treatments. It could be suggested that increase in growth and physiological attributes in chickpea due to biochar amendments and AMF inoculation under drought stress were plausibly due to their involvement in nitrogen and phosphorous uptake, chlorophyll synthesis and photosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-624
Number of pages11
JournalSaudi Journal of Biological Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • Biochar
  • Cicer arietinum
  • Drought
  • Membrane stability index
  • Nitrogen fixation
  • Photosynthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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