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Interactive Effects of Zinc-Arbuscular Mycorrhizal (AM) Fungi on Cadmium Uptake, Rubisco, Osmolyte Synthesis and Yield in Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.

Harmanjit Kaur


Neera Garg

Harmanjit Kaur 1
Neera Garg 2

  1. Department of Botany, Akal University, Bathinda, India. 1

  2. Department of Botany, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. 2

on Google Scholar
on PubMed

Pages: 17-42

DOI: 10.18488/journal.70.2021.81.17.42

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Article History:

Received: 19 October, 2020
Revised: 09 November, 2020
Accepted: 30 November, 2020
Published: 14 December, 2020


Cadmium (Cd) and Zinc (Zn) are two closely associated chemical elements having varied biological roles. Cd is a non-essential noxious element whereas Zn is an indispensable micronutrient at low concentrations but toxic to plants at higher levels. At the root surface, Cd competes with Zn for the same transmembrane carriers and Zn reduces Cd uptake in plants. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are considered potential biotechnological approach for increasing plant tolerance to Cd-polluted soils. Applications of Zn and AM fungal inoculations might augment metal tolerance by reducing Cd uptake through their interactive effects. Thus, experiments were carried out to investigate the interplay between Zn (500 and 1000 mg kg-1 dry soil) and AM fungus [Funneliformis mosseae (T.H. Nicolson & Gerd.) C. Walker & A. Schüßler] on growth, nutrient management, photosynthetic efficiency, osmotic equilibrium and productivity in two pigeonpea (Cajanus cajan (L.) Millsp.) genotypes (Tolerant- Sel 85N and Sensitive- P792) exposed to Cd stress (25 and 50 mg kg-1 dry soil). Results revealed that accumulation of Cd and Zn individually reduced plant dry matter, total chlorophyll contents, Rubisco activity and nutrient uptake resulting in loss of yield, with Cd proving to be more toxic. However, Zn and AM reduced Cd uptake and their combined treatments enhanced plant biomass, photosynthetic ability and harvest index (HI) significantly by providing osmotic balance (total soluble sugars, free amino acids, proline, glycine betaine). The effects were more discernible in Sel 85N than P792 which could be directly correlated with its better ability for mycorrhizal colonization under stress.
Contribution/ Originality
This study documents concomitant application of Zn and AM fungi as an economically feasible strategy in increasing the tolerance as well as yield potential of pigeonpea genotypes subjected to Cd stress by improving photosynthetic ability, nutrient status and osmoprotection.


Chlorophyll, Funneliformis mosseae, Heavy Metals, Nutrient, Productivity, Proline.


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This study received financial support from University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi, India [grant number 42-945/2013(SR)].

Competing Interests:

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Both authors contributed equally to the study conception and experimental design.

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