Record on dominant microfungi and their potential phosphate solubilization in tea garden soils
Microfungi are one of the important microbial groups in agriculture due to their positive, mutualistic and negative effect on plant growth and productivity. The roles of fungi extend from organic matter decomposition and mineral cycling to plant growth promotion. Considering these indispensable roles of this microbial group, the present research was undertaken to investigate the indigenous dominant microfungi in tea garden soils of Mokokchung district, Nagaland in India. The dominant microfungi were screened for their phosphate solubilization activity in PVK agar medium using tri-calcium phosphate as the sole phosphate source. Microfungal isolates showed significant differences in culture plates as well as microscopic studies. A total of 110 fungal isolates under 19 genera were identified in the present study. Among the soil microfungi, Aspergillus, Penicillium and Trichoderma were found to dominate the studied tea garden soils. The highest phosphate solubilization activities were observed for species under Aspergillus (1.95 cm to 1.71 cm) followed by Penicillium (1.57 cm to 1.18 cm) and Trichoderma species (1.13 cm to1.06 cm). The present study offers a glimpse of indigenous microfungi as well as provide information on the dominant microfungi in tea garden soils of Mokokchung district, Nagaland and hence, will aid and expand knowledge on indigenous fungi and their various roles. Also, the applications of potent phosphate-solubilizers isolated in this study can be a future source of biofertilizers consortium for tea and other plants.
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