1Grema. M. N., 2Ismail, H. Y.* and 3Muhammad, S.
1Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria
2Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria
3Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Nigeria
*Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org doi.org/10.55639/607flrx
Soil fertility remains a major driving force in plant growth and performance. In recent times, there has been an increase in demand for fertilizers to augment the fertility of marginal soils. However, the high cost of inorganic fertilizer has made farmers search for a cost-effective alternative. This study was carried out to investigate the effects of Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) as an alternative biofertilizer, and its effect was compared with that of organic manure (OM) and inorganic fertilizer (NPK) on the growth parameters of Pearl millet. The experiment employed a randomized complete block design (RCBD), and the treatments were replicated four times each under experimental greenhouse conditions. The shoot heights of the plants ranged from 38.06 cm to 83.45 cm, which was significantly higher (P<0.05) in OM-treated plants than those in the remaining treatments. The plants’ number of leaves and leaf area (cm2 ) differed significantly from the NPK treated plants, which out-competed the remaining treatments. The AMF significantly increased fungal root colonization by 30%, which was higher than in plants with NPK, OM, and the control (0.71% each). Although AMF did not significantly improve the plant’s growth, it was better at supporting shoot girth, root elongation, and overall root biomass than unfertilized plants. Inoculation with AMF was more efficient as it was positively reflected in colonized roots and other plant growth traits than non-biofertilized plants. Although the AMF was unable to compete with conventional fertilizers favorably, its potential to support millet growth has been established. Therefore, further investigations channeled towards the search for better mycorrhizal species under different experimental conditions are necessary.