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Apple (Malus domestica, Family-Rosaceae) is the oldest cash fruit crop cultivated world-wide. Apple farming depends on the agro-climatic conditions of the surrounding that impacts the growth and quality of apple production. The present study highlights the importance of root endophytes and soil enzymes with respect to soil nutrient status, taking altitude and seasons under consideration. Soil enzyme activities (urease, dehydrogenase, and acid and alkaline phosphatase) in rhizosphere soil and the microbial root colonization (mycorrhiza and endophytes) in root samples, collected from apple orchards, growing at different altitudes (1200, 1800 and 2400 m amsl) are analyzed in active and dormant season. Dehydrogenase activity varied from 1.6 to 8.39 µg TPF g−1 soil h−1 and urease from 7.69 to 75.41 µg NH4-N g−1 soil h−1. Microbial inhabitants of higher altitudinal areas tend to increase the biological oxidation of organic matter which in turn increases the dehydrogenase enzyme activities at the specific area. Maximum ρnitrophenol (pNP) released by acid and alkaline phosphatase varied from 136.45 to 655.48 and 206.30 to 308.59 µg phenol g−1soil h−1, respectively. Microbial root colonization was observed to vary between 51.33 and 94.00% at the studied locations. In microbial components, colonization of mycorrhiza (94%) was recorded highest in higher altitudinal site (Palchan) during active season while in case of endophytes it was found maximum at Khaknal (84%) during active season. Microbial populations were found maximum in rhizosphere soil as compared to bulk soil due to the existence of root exudates or rhizomicrobiome in rhizospheric soil.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, India Section B: Biological Sciences – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 1, 2021
Keywords: Apple orchards; Soil enzymes; Altitude; Season; Cold dry zone; Mountain Ecosystem
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