Variability of Rhizosphere Microbial Biomass, Mineral Nutrients, and Yield Performance as Affected by Durum Wheat Cultivars and Water Salinity Irrigation

Main Article Content

Khaoula Boudabbous
Imen Bouhaouel
Chahine Karmous
Rahma Ines Zoghlami
Nadhira Ben Aissa
Ali Sahli
Hajer Slim Amara


Durum wheat salinity tolerance under the effect of rhizosphere microorganisms was investigated in situ in semi-arid areas using contrasted irrigation water salinity (6 and 12 dS m-1). Six durum wheat cultivars were tested: three landraces (“Bayadha”, “Souri”, and “Agili Glabre”) and three modern varieties (“Razzek”, “Karim”, and “Maali”). The microbial biomass carbon (MBC), mineral nitrogen (MN), mineral phosphorus (MP), and grain yield (GY) and its components, were under durum wheat genotypic effect under salinity stress. Interestingly, soil biota of the cultivars “Agili Glabre” and “Maali” increased under saline conditions (12 dS m-1) mainly at tillering growth stage. The principal component analysis discriminated “Agili Glabre” from other cultivars with higher MBC and MP under saline conditions. Stepwise regression analysis showed that predictors of GY depend on salinity conditions, cultivars (landraces or modern varieties), and growth stage. Overall, the present study revealed the importance of microbial activity (MBC) and MP at tillering and flowering growth stages. These two parameters might be considered as effective indicators to assess durum wheat genotypic performance to salinity tolerance.

Microbial biomass, mineral nitrogen and phosphorus, cultivar, salinity, wheat, rhizosphere

Article Details

How to Cite
Boudabbous, K., Bouhaouel, I., Karmous, C., Zoghlami, R. I., Aissa, N. B., Sahli, A., & Amara, H. S. (2021). Variability of Rhizosphere Microbial Biomass, Mineral Nutrients, and Yield Performance as Affected by Durum Wheat Cultivars and Water Salinity Irrigation. Asian Journal of Research in Biosciences, 3(1), 15-28. Retrieved from
Original Research Article


USDA; 2019.
(Accessed on 30 April 2019).

Munns R, Tester M. Mechanisms of salinity tolerance. Annual Review of Plant Biology. 2008;59:651–681.

Shrivastava P, Kumar R. Soil salinity: a serious environmental issue and plant growth promoting bacteria as one of the tools for its alleviation. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences. 2015;22:123–131.

Setia R, Marshner P, Blodook J, Chittleborough D, Smith P. Salinity affects on carbon mineralization in soils of varying texture. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 2011;43:1908-1916.

Gerosa G, Marzuoli R, Finco A, Monga A, Monga R, Fusaro I, et al. Contrasting effects of water salinity and ozone concentration on two cultivars of durum wheat (Triticum durum Desf.) in Mediterranean conditions. Environmental Pollution. 2014;193:13–21.

Van Hoorn JW, Hamdy N, Mastrorilli AM. Effect of saline water on soil salinity and on water stress, growth, and yield of wheat and potatoes. Agricutural Water Management. 1993;23:247–265.

Rezgui M, Ben Mechlia N, Bizid E, Kalboussi R, Hayouni R. Etude de la stabilité du rendement de blé dur dans différentes régions de la Tunisie. In Durum wheat improvement in the Mediterranean region: New challenges. (Eds C Royo, M Nachit, N Di Fonzo, JL Araus). (CIHEAM: Zaragoza). 2000 ;176–172.

Hamdi L, Suleiman A, Hoogenboom G, Shelia V. Response of the durum wheat cultivar Um Qais (Triticum turgidum subsp. durum) to salinity. Agriculture; 2019.

Tamilselvi SM, Chinnadurai C, Ilamurugu K, Arulmozhiselvan K, Balachandar D. Effect of long-term nutrient managements on biological and biochemical properties of semi-arid tropical Alfisol during maize crop development stages. Ecological Indicators. 2015;48:76–87.

Mandal A, Patra AK, Singh D, Swarup A, Masto E. Effect of long-term application of manure and fertilizer on biological and biochemical activities in soil during crop development stages. Bioresource Technology. 2007;98:3585–3592.

Chaparro JM, Badri DV, Bakker MG, Sugiyama A, Manter DK, Vivanco JM. Root exudation of phytochemicals in Arabidopsis follows specific patterns that are developmentally programmed and correlate with soil microbial functions. PLoS ONE. 2013;8:2e55731.
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055731

Sha Valli Khan PS, Nagamallaiah GVM, Dhanunjay RM, Sergeant K, Hausman JF. Abiotic stress tolerance in plants: Insights from proteomics. Emerging Technologies and Management of Crops Stress. 2014;2:23–69.

Vega O, Walter N. A review of beneficial effects of rhizosphere bacteria on soil nutrient availability and plant nutrient uptake. Revista Facultad Nacional Agronomia Medellin. 2007;60:3621–3643.

Hoyle FC, Murphy DV. Influence of organic residues and soil incorporation on temporal measures of microbial biomass and plant available nitrogen. Plant and Soil. 2011;347:53–64.

Andronov E, Petrova S, Pinaev A, Pershina E, Rakhimgalieva SZ, Akhmedenov K, et al. Analysis of the structure of microbial community in soils with different degrees of salinization using T-RFLP and real-time PCR techniques. Eurasian Soil Science. 2012;45:147–156.

Tejada M, Garcia C, Gonzalez JL, Hernandez MT. Use of organic amendment as a strategy for saline soil remediation: influence on the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 2006;38:1413–1421.

Parida AK, Das AB. Salt tolerance and salinity effects on plants. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 2005;60:324–349.

Mavi MS, Marschner P. Drying and wetting in saline and saline-sodic soilseffects on microbial activity, biomass and dissolved organic carbon. Plant and Soil. 2012;355:51-62

Rich J, Myrold D. Community composition and activities of denitrifying bacteria from adjacent agricultural soil, riparian soil, and creek sediment in Oregon, USA. Soil Biology & Biochemistry. 2004;36:1431–1441.

Lombard N, Prestat E, van Elsas JDD, Simonet P. Soil specific limitations for access and specific limitations for access and munities by metagenomics, FEMS. Microbial Ecology. 2011;78:31–49.

Brockett BFT, Prescott CE, Grayston SJ. Soil moisture is the major factor influencing microbial community structure and enzyme activities across seven biogeoclimatic zones in western Canada. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 2012;44(2012):9-20.

Marschner P, Yang CH, Lieberei R, Crowley DE. Soil and plant specific effects on bacterial community composition in the rhizosphere. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 2001;33:1437–1445.

Carelli M, Gnocchi S, Fancelli S, Mengoni A, Paffetti D, Scotti C, et al. Genetic diversity and dynamics of Sinorhizobium meliloti populations nodulating different alfalfa cultivars in Italian soils. Applied Environment Microbiology. 2000;66:4785–4789.

Masto RE, Ansari MA, George J, Selvi VA, Ram LC. Co-application of biochar and lignite fly ash on soil nutrients and biological parameters at different crop growth stages of Zea mays. Ecology and Engeneering. 2013;58:314–322.

Zuo S, Li X, Ma Y, Yang. Soil microbes are linked to the allelopathic potential of different wheat genotypes. S Plant and Soil. 2014;378:49–58.

USDA. Soil classification: A comprehensives system (prepared by) soil survey staff. Government Printing Office, Washington; 2013.

Zadokcs JC, Chang TT, Konzak CF. A decimal code for growth stages of cereals. Weed Research. 1974;14:415–421.

Nelson DW, Sommer LE. Total carbon, organic carbon and organic matter. methods of soil analysis, Part 2. Chemical and Microbiological Properties, 2nd Edition. ASA-SSSA, Madison. 1982;595-579.

Waring SA, Bremner JM. Ammonium production in soil under waterlogged conditions as an index of nitrogen availability. Nature. 1964;201:951–952.

Olsen SR, Cole CV, Watanabe FS, Dean LA. Estimation of available phosphorus in soils by extraction with sodium bicarbonate. U.S. Dept of Agriculture, Circular 939, Washington DC; 1954.

Vance ED, Brookes PC, Jenkinson DS. An extraction method for soil microbial biomass C. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 1987;19:703–707.

Walkley A, Black IA. An examination of Degtjareff method for determining soil organic matter and a proposed modification of the chromic acid titration method. Soil Science. 1934;37:29–37.

Wang YR, Kang SZ, Li FS, Zhang L, Zhang JH. Saline water irrigation scheduling through a crop-water-salinity production function and a soil-water-salinity dynamic mode. Pedosphere. 2007;73:70–75.

Joergensen RG. The fumigation-extraction method for microbial biomass nitrogen. In Jansa J., Mozafar A, Frossard E, 2005. Phosphorus acquisition strategies Within arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal community of a single field site. Plant and Soil. 1995;276:163–176.

Huang Z, Wan X, He Z, Yu Z, Wang M, Hu Z, et al. Soil microbial biomass, community composition and soil nitrogen cycling in relation to tree species in subtropical China. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 2013;62:68–75.

Iwai CB, Oo AN, Topark-Ngarm B. Soil property and microbial activity in natural salt affected soils in an alternating wet dry tropical climate. Geoderma. 2012;189:144-152.

Elmajdoub B. Microbial activity and biomass in saline soils as affected by carbon availability. PhD Thesis. Université de Adelaide. Australia; 2014.

Hagemann M. Molecular biology of cyanobacterial salt acclimation. FEMS Microbiological Reviews. 2011;35:87–123.

Luo JY, Zhang S, Peng J, Zhu XZ, Lv LM, Wang CY. Effects of soil salinity on the expression of Bt toxin (Cry1Ac) and the control efficiency of Helicoverpa armigera in field grown transgenic Bt cotton. PLoS ONE. 2017;12:e0170379.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170379

Walpola BC, Arunakumara KKIU. Carbon and nitrogen mineralization of a plant residue amended soil: The effect of salinity stress. Bangladesh Journal of Scientific Industrial Research. 2011;46:565–572.

Sindhu MA, Cornfield AH. Effect of sodium chloride and moisture content on ammonification and nitrification in incubated soil. Journal of the Science and Food and Agriculture. 1967;18:505–506.

Elgharably A. Wheat response to combined application of nitrogen and phosphorus in a saline sandy loam soil. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition. 2011;57:396-402.

Carreira JA, Vinegla B, Lajtha K. Secondary CaCO3 and precipitation of P–Ca compounds control the retention of soil P in arid ecosystems. Journal of Arid Environment. 2006;64:460–473.

Mahmood IA, Ali A, Aslam A, Shahzad A, Sultan T, Hussain F. Phosphorus Availability in Different Salt-affected Soils as Influenced by Crop Residue Incorporation. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology. 2013;15:472‒478.

Schweitzer JA, Lonsdorf EV, Bailey JK, Fishcer DG, Whithman TG, Leroy CJ, et al. Plant-soil-microorganism interactions: Heritable relationship between plant and associated soil microorganisms. Ecology. 2008;89:773–781.

Pregitzer CC, Bailey JK, Schweitzer JA. Genetic by environment interactions affect plant–soil linkages. Ecology and Evolution. 2013;3:2322–2333.

Clark BC. Plant genotype differences in the uptake, translocation, accumulation, and use of mineral elements required for plant growth developments. Plant Soil Sciences. 1983;8:49–70.

Glaser K, Hackl E, Inselsbacher E, Strauss J, Wanek W, Zechmeister-Boltenstern S, et al. Dynamics of ammonia-oxidizing communities in barley-planted bulk soil and rhizosphere following nitrate and ammonium fertilizer amendment. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 2010;74:575–591.

Egamberdieva D, Renella G, Wirth S, Islam R. Enzyme activities in the rhizosphere of plants. Soil Enzymology. 2011;149166.

Kraimat M, Bissati S. Characterization of genotypic variability associated to the phosphorus bioavailability in peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.). Annals of Agriculture Sciences. 2017;62:45–49.

Zhao Q, Zeng DH, Fan ZP. Nitrogen and phosphorus transformations in the rhizospheres of three tree species in a nutrient-poor sandy soil. Applied Soil Ecology. 2010;46:341–346.

Islam N, Borthakur F. Effect of different growth stages on rice crop on soil microbial and enzyme activities. Tropical Plant Research. 2016;3:40–47.

Kumar S, Patra AK, Singh D, Purakayastha TJ. Long-term chemical fertilization along with farmyard manure enhances resistance and resilience of soil microbial activity against heat stress. Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science. 2014;200:156–162.

Zhang J, Qin J, Yao W, Bi L, Lai T, Yu X. Effect of long-term application of manure and mineral fertilizers on nitrogen mineralization and microbial biomass in paddy soil during rice growth stages. Plant Soil and Environment. 2009;55:101119.

Aulakh MS, Wassmann R, Bueno C, Kreuzwieser J, Rennenberg H. Characterization of root exudates at different growth stages of ten rice (Oryza sativa L.) cultivars. Plant Biology. 2001;3:139–148.

Govaerts B, Mezzalama M, Unno Y, Sayre KD, Luna-Guido M, Vanherck L, et al. Influence of tillage, residue management, and crop rotation on soil microbial biomass and catabolic diversity. Applied Soil Ecology. 2007;37:18–30.

Onwonga RN, Joyce J, Lelei JJ, Mochoge BB. Mineral nitrogen and microbial biomass dynamics under different acid soil management practices for maize production. Journal of Agriculture Science. 2010;2:16–30.

Ercoli L, Masoni A, Pampana S, Mariotti M, Arduini I. As durum wheat productivity is affected by nitrogen fertilisation management in Central Italy. European Journal of Agronomy. 2013;44:38–45.

Jones C, Olson-Rutz K, Dinkins CP. Nutrient uptake timing by crops. Montana State University; 2011.

Anderson TH. Microbial eco-physiological indicators to assess soil quality. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. 2003;98:285–293.

Rietz DN, Haynes RJ. Effects of irrigation-induced salinity and sodicity on soil microbial activity. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 2003;35:845–854.

Elmajdoub M, Marshner P. Response of microbial activity and biomass to soil salinity when supplied with glucose and cellulose. Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition. 2015;15:816–832.

Yu ZW, Li HP, Wang P. Crop Cultivation. The press of Chinese Agriculture. 2001;120-160.

Wong VNL, Dalal RC, Greene RSB. Salinity and sodicity effects on respiration and microbial biomass of soil. Biology and Fertility of Soils. 2008;44:943–953.

Marschner P, Yan N. Response of soil respiration and microbial biomass to changing EC in saline soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 2013;65:322–328.

Lv L, Li Z, Che Y, Han FX, Liu M. Soil organic C, nutrients, microbial biomass, and grain yield of rice (Oryza sativa L.) after 18 years of fertilizer application to an infertile paddy soil. Biology and Fertility of Soils. 2011;47:777–783.

Girma K, Martin KL, Anderson RH, Arnall DB, Brixey KD, Casillas MA, et al. Mid-season prediction of wheat-grain yield potential using plant, soil, and sensor measurements. Journal of Plant Nutrition. 2006;873–897.

Bashirov VV. Correlation study between soil nutrient indices and yield of wheat and barley in the Ganjabasar region of Azerbajan. International Journal of Soil Science. 2009;4:114–122.