Sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), a member of the Asteraceae, is one of the major oilseed crops around the world. Charcoal rot caused by Macrophomina phaseolina (Tassi) Goid is the most damaging disease of sunflowers globally. Fungicides are mostly used to control charcoal rot; how-ever, these cause environmental pollution and pose adverse effects on the ecosystem. Therefore, ecofriendly management options are inevitable for the management of charcoal rot disease. Plant mineral nutrition, the use of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria and biochar have recently been manipulated for the management of different plant diseases. However, the interactive effects of all these treatments have rarely been tested on charcoal rot suppression in sunflowers. This study assessed the influence of sulfur (0 and 2.25 mg/kg) combined with farmyard manure biochar (2%), NPK (20:20:20 mg/kg) and three different plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) strains on the charcoal rot suppression growth, yield, biochemistry and physiology of sunflower. The PGPR strains included in the study were Bacillus sp. strain MR-1/2 (regarded as PGPR1), Achromobacter sp. strain FB-14 (regarded as PGPR2) and Planomicrobium sp. strain MSSA-10 (regarded as PGPR3). The charcoal rot infestation was induced by inoculating the soil with M. phaseolina, and the impacts of the different treatments were studied on the disease infestation, growth, yield, biochemistry and physiology of sunflowers under 0 and 2.25-mg/kg S application. The results revealed that farmyard manure biochar and Planomicrobium sp. strain MSSA-10 in combination with 2.25-mg/kg S proved effective for the management of charcoal rot disease through regulating the antioxidant enzymes’ activities and strengthening the immune system of sunflower plants. The studied health markers (total chlorophyll content and carotenoids) and stress markers (total protein content, catalase and per-oxidase) were significantly altered by the applied treatments under 0 and 2.25-mg/kg S applications. The findings of the experiment indicated that both farmyard manure biochar and Planomicrobium sp. strain MSSA-10, combined with 2.25-mg/kg S, could be used to enhance the crop yield and manage charcoal rot disease in sunflowers. Farmyard manure biochar and Planomicrobium sp. strain MSSA-10 are an easy-to-apply, cost-effective, ecofriendly and sustainable option for the management of charcoal rot disease in sunflowers.
- Macrophomina phaseolina
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law