AM fungi; Azotobacter; IBA; In vivo; Morus alba; NaCl stress
Pot experiments were conducted for the development of salt-resistant saplings of Morus alba (var. sujanpuri) involving bioinoculants, namely arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, Azotobacter and indole butyric acid (IBA). The IBA and sodium chloride (NaCl) concentrations were optimized prior to the experiments. By using both low and high concentrations, 15 ppm IBA and 0.05% NaCl (w/v) were found to be optimum in acting synergistically with AM fungi and Azotobacter and also for increasing all the growth parameters and microbial count in the rhizosphere. For in vivo development of salt-resistant saplings, the optimal concentration of IBA, along with AM fungi and Azotobacter in different combinations, was applied. The saplings were irrigated regularly with 0.05% NaCl water. Although growth parameters such as AM infection percentage, AM spores per 100 g soil and Azotobacter cells/g soil were affected by NaCl watering, the inoculation of both bioinoculants significantly enhanced survival percentage of saplings from 25 to 50% under salt stress. Maximum survival (55%) of saplings was found with IBA (15 ppm)+AM fungi+Azotobacter.