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Res.

on Crops 16 (2) : 288-292 (2015)


With two figures
Printed in India

DOI : 10.5958/2348-7542.2015.00042.X

Influence of biofertilizers along with inorganic source of nitrogen


and phosphorus on growth, seed yield and quality of fenugreek
(Trigonella foenum-graecum L.)
V. P. S. PANGHAL*, D. S. DUHAN AND MAKHAN LAL
Department of Vegetable Science
CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar-125 004 (Haryana), India
*(e-mail : vijaypalpanghal@gmail.com)
(Received : October 2014/Accepted : March 2015)

ABSTRACT
A field experiment was conducted at Hisar (Haryana) during the years 2012-13
and 2013-14 to study the response of biofertilizers and inorganic source of nitrogen and
phosphorus on fenugreek variety Hisar Sonali with 16 treatment combinations in factorial
RBD with three replications. The soil of the experimental field was low in organic carbon,
available nitrogen, medium in phosphorus and high in respect to available potassium.
Application of 60 kg N and 50 kg P2O5 per hectare gave significantly higher plant height,
branches per plant, pod length, pods per plant, and seed, straw and biological yields as
well as standard germination percentage over 50 kg N and 40 kg P2O5 per hectare. Combined
inoculation of seed with Rhizobium and PSB and their sole application significantly gave
higher plant height, branches per plant, pod length and seeds per pod. Whereas pods per
plant and seed yield were recorded with combined inoculation of seed with Rhizobium and
PSB, which were higher over their individual application and control.
Key words : Biofertilizers, fenugreek, nitrogen, phosphorus, seed yield

INTRODUCTION
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum
L.) is an annual herbaceous multipurpose crop
grown during winter season in north India. The
seed is mainly used as condiment and in the
pharmaceutical industry especially in
preparation of ayurvedic medicines, while
young plants are used as a vegetable and
forage. Recent researches (Nasroallah and
Kolsum, 2013) have identified fenugreek as a
valuable medicinal plant with a potential for
multipurpose uses and also as a source for
preparing raw materials of pharmaceutical
industry, especially steroidal hormones. Its
fresh tender leaves, pods and shoots are rich
in iron, calcium, protein, vitamin and essential
amino acids. Both leaves and seeds are
extensively used for medicinal purposes and
prescribed in treatment of chronic dysentery,
diarrhoea, chronic cough, dropsy, dyspepsia,
enlargement of lever and spleen, arthritis,
diabetes, colic troubles, abscesses, ulcers and
rickets (Panda, 2010).
Fenugreek is mainly grown in
Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh,
Maharashtra, Haryana, Punjab, Bihar and

Andhra Pradesh (Rizvi et al., 2013). Being a


leguminous crop, the root nodules enrich the
soil with atmospheric nitrogen. Intensive
agriculture involving use of high input for
increasing production resulted in heavy
removal of nutrients from the soil. Thus, there
is wide gap between nutrients removed from
soil and nutrient supplied. This gap can be
bridged with use of chemical fertilizers along
with application of low cost input like biofertilizers. Nitrogen plays a central role in the
synthesis of chlorophyll. Nitrogen is an
essential constituent of compounds like amino
acids, proteins, nucleic acids, prophyrin, flavin,
pyridines, nucleotides, enzymes, coenzymes
and alkaloids which contribute to the growth
of plant. The general role of phosphorus on
plant metabolism is known to enhance the
symbiotic nitrogen fixation. Information on cost
effective nutrient management in semi-arid
climatic condition in fenugreek is very meagre
(Mehta et al., 2008).
Biofertilizers are environment-friendly,
less expensive, and hence lead to sustainable
crop production. Besides, they produce
hormones, vitamins and other growth factors
required for plant growth. Fenugreek, being a

Response of fenugreek to biofertilizers and inorganic source of N and P


legume crop, responds to inoculation with
Rhizobium to meet the partial requirement of
nitrogen (Dutta et al., 2011). The productivity
of Trigonella foenum-graecum is low because of
several constraints. Amongst the production
constraints, imbalanced and inadequate
nutrition are considered to be the important
limiting factors. Identification of organic and
inorganic nutrition is considered to be the first
and foremost step for development of
production technology (Rizvi et al., 2013). Poor
recycling of organic sources also leads to
emergence of multiple nutrient deficiencies
(Kumar, 2008). Integrated use of chemical
fertilizers as well as biofertilizers in fenugreek
can be more efficient, economical and judicious
approach than chemical fertilizers alone.
Therefore, the study was undertaken to
evaluate the effect of nitrogen, phosphorus and
biofertilizers on yield, yield attributes and
profitability of nutrient application in
fenugreek.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The experiment was conducted at
Vegetable Research Farm, CCS Haryana
Agricultural University, Hisar during the rabi
seasons of 2012-13 and 2013-14. The soil of
the experimental field was sandy loam, slightly
high in pH, low in organic carbon and available
nitrogen, medium in available phosphorus and
high in available potash. The experiment was
laid out in a factorial randomized block design
with 16 treatment combinations viz., two
nitrogen levels i. e. 50 and 60 kg/ha, two
phosphorus levels i. e. 40 and 50 kg/ha and
four biofertilizer levels i. e. control, Rhizobium
inoculation, PSB inoculation and Rhizobium+
PSB inoculation. The treatments were
randomized with three replications. Full dose
of nitrogen and phosphorus as per treatment
was applied manually through urea and single
super phosphate at the time of sowing.
Inoculation of fenugreek seeds with respective
liquid biofertilizers was done @ 50 ml each of
biofertilizer per 10 kg of seed and the treated
seeds were dried under shade, preferably in a
cool place before sowing. The fenugreek variety
Hisar Sonali was sown on 10 and 1 November
during 2012-13 and 2013-14, respectively at
30 cm row to row spacing keeping seed rate of
20 kg per hectare. Plants were thinned after
25 days of sowing to keep the plant to plant

289

distance about 8-10 cm. First irrigation was


given after thinning. Initially fenugreek being
a slow growing seed spice hence, more prone
to crop-weed competition. Emergence and rapid
growth of weed lead to severe competition with
crop for light, moisture, space and nutrients
(Meena et al., 2013). Therefore, to keep the field
weed free at initial stage of crop growth, two
manual hand weedings were done, first at the
time of thinning and second 50 days after
sowing. Other cultural practices were followed
as per package of practices recommended for
the crop. The maximum and minimum
temperature as well as the sunshine hours
during the crop growth period is shown in Fig.
1. Observations were recorded on different
parameters viz., plant height (cm), branches
per plant, pods per plant, length of pod (cm)
and seeds per pod at 10 days before harvest.
Seed, straw and biological yields (q/ha) were
recorded at the time of final harvest. Standard
germination percentage was recorded from the
freshly harvested seeds of fenugreek, as per
treatments, under the laboratory conditions.
The seeds were placed on top of paper method
at constant temperature of 20C for 14 days.
Experimental data of different parameters were
analyzed in three-factor randomized block
design with three replications for analysis of
variance in OPSTAT (http://14.139.232.166/
opstat/index.asp) statistical software developed
by Chaudhry Charan Singh Haryana
Agricultural University, Hisar, Haryana, India
(Sheoran, 2010).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Effect of Nitrogen
The different nitrogen, phosphorus and
biofertilizers influenced plant growth, yield and
quality of fenugreek (Table 1). The growth and
yield attributes viz., plant height, branches per
plant, pod length, pod per plant, seeds per pod,
seed and straw yield as well as biological yield
in fenugreek were recorded higher with
application of 60 kg nitrogen over 50 kg per
hectare during both the years as well as in
pooled data but standard germination
percentage was not significantly affected with
varying levels of nitrogen. Increased number
of pods per plant could be due to significant
increase in the plant height and number of
branches per plant. Application of nitrogen 60

290

Panghal, Duhan and Lal

40.0
35.0
30.0
25.0
20.0

Max. temp.

15.0

Min. temp.

10.0

Sun Shine hrs.

5.0

2012-13

Ap
ril

Ma
rch

Fe
bru
ary

Ja
nu
ary

No
ve
mb
er
De
ce
mb
er

Oc
tob
er

Ap
ril

Ma
rch

Fe
bru
ary

Ja
nu
ary

De
ce
mb
er

No
ve
mb
er

Oc
tob
er

0.0

2013-14

Fig. 1. Maximum and minimum temperature, and sunshine hours during the crop growth period.
Table 1. Effect of nitrogen, phosphorus and biofertilizer on growth and yield parameters of fenugreek (Pooled data)
Treatment

A. Nitrogen (kg/ha)
50
60
C. D. (P=0.05)
B. Phosphorus (kg/ha)
40
50
C. D. (P=0.05)
C. Biofertilizer
Control
Rhizobium
PSB
Rhizobium+PSB
C. D. (P=0.05)

Plant
height
(cm)

Branches/
plant

Pod
length
(cm)

Pods/
plant

Seeds/
pod

Seed
yield
(q/ha)

Straw
yield
(q/ha)

Biological
yield
(q/ha)

Standard
germination
(%)

77.0
84.0
2.6

4.19
4.83
0.15

10.31
11.82
0.6

38.2
46.5
3.7

15.5
20.6
2.3

28.8
30.9
0.5

23.6
33.4
4.3

52.4
64.3
4.1

84.7
85.0
NS

78.1
83.0
2.6

4.32
4.74
0.15

10.54
11.67
0.6

39.8
45.9
3.7

16.9
19.5
2.3

29.3
30.4
0.5

25.0
31.9
4.3

54.3
62.3
4.1

84.0
85.7
NS

77.8
82.0
80.9
82.7
2.9

4.21
4.60
4.53
4.65
0.20

10.32
10.80
10.69
11.42
0.9

39.4
40.7
40.0
45.8
4.1

16.1
19.2
18.5
20.1
2.6

28.3
30.2
29.7
31.2
0.7

26.5
27.8
29.2
30.4
3.9

54.8
58.0
58.9
61.6
3.7

84.2
84.4
84.6
85.2
NS

Interaction effects of A x B, A x C and A x B x C were not significant. NSNot Significant.

kg per hectare resulted in 6.8, 29.3 and 18.5%


higher seed, straw and biological yield,
respectively, over 50 kg per hectare. This might
be due to early and abundant availability of
nitrogen leading to better nutritional
environment in the root zone for growth and
development of plant. In addition to its role in
the formation of protein, nitrogen is an integral
part of chlorophyll, which is the primary
absorber of light energy needed for
photosynthesis. Application of nitrogen also
increased photosynthetic activity and
translocation of photosynthates from source to
sink which may be the case of higher yield
attributes at higher levels of nitrogen. Adequate
supply of nitrogen also played a vital role in
various metabolic processes which resulted in
increased flowering and fruiting thereby
improving pods per plant due to favourable

effect of these nutrients on growth parameters


(Fig. 2). Increase in yield attributes due to
increasing levels of nitrogen will have direct
and positive effect on seed, straw and biological
yields of fenugreek. These findings are similar
with those of Mehta et al. (2012) in fenugreek.
Effect of Phosphorus
Under present experiment, application
of phosphorus 50 kg per hectare gave
significantly higher plant height (83.0 cm),
number of branches per plant (4.74), pod length
(11.67 cm), pods per plant (45.9), seeds per pod
(19.5), seed yield (30.4 q/ha), straw yield (31.9
q/ha) and biological yield (62.3 q/ha) over 40
kg/ha but standard germination percentage
was not significantly influenced by phosphorus
levels (Table 1). Application of higher doses of

Response of fenugreek to biofertilizers and inorganic source of N and P

Pods per plant

No. of seed per pod

291

Seed yield (q/ha)

Co
ntr
ol

B
PS
Rh
iz.+

PS
B

Rh
izo
biu
m

50
kg
/ha
P:

40
kg
/ha

P:

60
kg
/ha
N:

N:

50
kg
/ha

50
45
40
35
30
25
20
15
10
5
0

Fig. 2. Effect of different treatments on yield and its attributes in fenugreek.

phosphorus had positive effect on growth and


seed yield parameters of fenugreek crop. This
may be due to enrichment of soil with the
nutrients to the level of sufficiency. The
significant improvement in nutrient status of
soil resulted in better availability of nutrient
for growth and development of the plant right
from early stages. Phosphorus plays an
important role in root development and
proliferation as well as it also improves root
nodule formation and biological nitrogen
fixation by supplying assimilates to the roots.
Phosphorus facilitates plant nutrient involved
in wide range of plant process and performs
number of functions related to plant growth
and development as well as photosynthesis and
utilization of carbohydrates resulting in higher
yield attributes and yield. Adequate supply of
phosphorus plays a vital role in various
metabolic processes, which might result in
increased branching, flowering and fruiting
thereby improving pods per plant. Phosphorus
is also involved in transformation of energy in
biological reaction. These all processes might
favourably improve with phosphorus application
and finally resulted in higher value of yield
attributes. Increased availability of phosphorus
owing to its application in the soil, improves
nutrient availability. Beneficial effect of
phosphorus fertilization on yield attributes and
yield of grain legumes is universally accepted.

Seed yield of a crop is a function of yield


attributes such as number of pods per plant,
number of seeds per pod (Fig. 2). Increase in
growth and yield attributes due to increasing
levels of phosphorus will have direct and
positive effect on seed, straw and biological
yields of fenugreek. These results confirm
findings of Mehta et al. (2012) and Rizvi et al.
(2013) in fenugreek.
Effect of Biofertilizers
The data presented in Table 1 reveal
that sole as well as combined application of
both Rhizobium and PSB was found at par with
each other with respect to plant height,
branches per plant, pod length, seeds per pod,
straw and biological yield but significantly
better over control in both the years and in
pooled data. However, pods per plant as well
as seed yield were recorded significantly higher
with combined inoculation of seed with
Rhizobium and PSB over their sole application
and control. Standard germination percentage
was not significantly affected with any of the
biofertilizer treatments. Increase in seed yield
due to the inoculation of seed with Rhizobium
and PSB might be due to the fact that these
biofertilizers increased root through better root
development, nodulation and more nutrient
availability resulting in increased plant height

292

Panghal, Duhan and Lal

and may be more pods per plant, pod length


and seeds per pod (Fig. 2) which in turn
resulted in higher yield over control.
PSB+Rhizobium might also have improved both
nitrogen and available phosphorus in
rhizosphere as they are symbiotic nitrogen
fixers and phosphate solubilizers, respectively
(Singh et al., 2012). These results are in support
with the findings of Mehta et al. (2012) in
fenugreek. Beneficial effects of balanced
nutrients were also reported by Sunanda et al.
(2014) in kasuri methi.
Interaction effects between nitrogen,
phosphorus and biofertilizers were found nonsignificant among the various treatments.
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