The influence of biofertilizer effect on switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) crop yield under greenhouse and field conditions in Guelph, Ontario, Canada

The influence of biofertilizer effect on switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) crop yield under greenhouse and field conditions in Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Sean Simpson1, Kari E. Dunfield1, Kamini Khosla1, Eric M. Lyons2, Mahendra Thimmanagari3, Brent Coleman1, Naresh V. Thevathasan1*

1School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada; 2Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada; 3Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 1 Stone Road, Guelph, ON, Canada

Greenhouse and field experiments were conducted to test the effectiveness of biofertilizers on switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) yields compared to inorganic fertilizer and a zero-control. In the greenhouse, Variovorax paradoxus JM63, JumpStart® (Penicillium bilaii), inorganic fertilizer and control treatments resulted in significantly higher per L pot biomass yields compared to the control treatment; 2.74 (±0.24), 2.55 (±0.10),  2.52 (±0.24) and 1.34 (±0.09) g L-1, respectively. As JumpStart® is a commercially available biofertilizer, it was used in the field experiment along with inorganic and control treatments. All three treatments were applied to established (2014) switchgrass plots. Significantly (p<0.05) higher biomass yields of 10.73 (±1.33) and 7.67 (±0.30) Mg ha-1 were recorded for JumpStart® and inorganic fertilizer treatments, respectively, when compared to the zero-control biomass yield of 5.36 (±0.87) Mg ha-1. The enumeration soil test revealed that soil from JumpStart® and zero-control treatments had 20033, and <100 cfu/g of soil of Penicillium spp., respectively. Results suggest that commercially available JumpStart® could replace/supplement inorganic fertilizer application on well-established switchgrass fields but, its influence on long-term biomass yields need to be further verified.

Keywords: Herbaceous biomass, soil health, Rhizobacteria, Penicillium bilaii

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Sean Simpson, Kari E. Dunfield, Kamini Khosla, Eric M. Lyons, Mahendra Thimmanagari, Brent Coleman, Naresh V. Thevathasan. The influence of biofertilizer effect on switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) crop yield under greenhouse and field conditions in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. American Journal of Agricultural Research, 2020,5:100. DOI: 10.28933/ajar-2020-06-2205


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