The effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and deficit irrigation on the yield and sugar content of watermelons (Citrullus lanatus)

Yang P.M., He S.T. (2022): The effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and deficit irrigation on the yield and sugar content of watermelons (Citrullus lanatus). Hort. Sci. (Prague), 49: 225–233.

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Many studies have demonstrated that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and deficit irrigation (DI) have positive effects on the fruit yield or quality. This study aims to test whether the watermelon sugar content and yield can be improved by appropriate amounts of AMF and DI methods and to clarify the underlying physiological mechanism. Diploid and triploid watermelon cultivars and their pumpkin rootstock-grafted seedlings were treated with AMF, DI and DI + AMF in a randomised complete block design with five replications. The results showed that DI significantly reduced the relative water content (RWC), PN, alkaline α-galactosidase activity, but increased the insoluble acid invertase (IAI), sucrose synthase (SuSy) and sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) activities compared with the well-watered (WW) treatment, which led to a decrease in the fruit yield and an increase in the fruit sugar content. Although the AMF improved the RWC, PN and alkaline α-galactosidase, IAI, SuSy and SPS activities in all the watermelon lines under both the DI and WW conditions, the improvement magnitude of these parameters was more pronounced in the pumpkin-root watermelon lines than the corresponding own-root watermelon lines, especially under the DI condition. The integrated application of AMF and DI increased the fruit yield to a level similar to the WW value in the pumpkin-root watermelon lines and sugar content to an optimal level in all the watermelon lines.

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