Phytohormonal effects on rhizosphere processes of maize (<em>Zea mays</em> L.) under phosphorus deficiency


  • L. Wittenmayer
  • A. Deubel
  • W. Merbach


Effects of the hormones indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), gibberellic acid (GA3), and trans-zeatin (t-Z) on growth, P status and rhizosphere processes of maize (Zea mays L., cv. 'Bezemara') were investigated in a pot experiment at two levels of phosphorus availability (+P: water soluble phosphate and -P: sparingly soluble tricalcium phosphate). Six weeks after seed germination, plants were harvested and analysed for dry weight, shoot length, root surface, P concentration, acid phosphatases activity (acid Pase) in shoot and rhizosphere and the content of carboxylic acids and sugars in the rhizosphere. ANOVA was used to estimate the effects of treatments on measured parameters. Hormone application via rhizosphere had a highly significant effect on the growth of whole plants, their P status and rhizosphere processes. GA3 and t-Z promoted quantitatively shoot and root growth and morphological changes, whereas IAA affected the chemical composition of the rhizosphere. In several parameters, the effects of hormone treatment depended on the P status of plants indicating different sensitivity of +P and -P plants to plant growth regulator (PGR) application (significant interaction of hormone application × P availability). The findings help to improve our knowledge, why PGR treatments and plant growth promoting rhizo-microorganisms have varying effects on plants depending on growth conditions.