Volume 14, Issue 1 (3-2023)                   2023, 14(1): 71-87 | Back to browse issues page

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Horticultural Science Department, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Hormozgan.
Abstract:   (748 Views)
To investigate the response of transplant and whole plants of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) to the type of substrate and fertilizer, a factorial experiment was conducted as a randomized block design in Minab city of Hormozgan province with three replications. The first factor included four types of substrates and the second factor included five fertilizers levels. The results of the greenhouse experiment showed that the substrate type and fertilizer had a significant effect on the transplant traits. The results showed that the maximum leaf number and root dry weight of transplants were obtained in the cocopeat + vermicompost substrate. In each substrate, fertilizers improved the transplant traits, and organic and biological fertilizers were more effective. Thus, the maximum transplant height was determined in the cocopeat + vermicompost with algae fertilizer, and the maximum fresh weight and root volume were measured in the same substrate but with phosphozite fertilizer. The results of the field study showed that the evaluated traits were affected by the substrate type and fertilizer, and the seedlings previously grown in the substrates that improved their traits, had better growth after transferring to the field. The results showed that the highest number and yield of fruit, total soluble solids, and ascorbic acid were obtained in the seedlings produced in cocopeat + vermicompost substrate and organic fertilizers.

Background and Objective: Transplants production in vegetables, are affected by the type of substrate and fertilizers. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the response of some traits of tomato seedlings and whole plants to the substrate type and fertilizer.

Methods: Factorial experiment was conducted as a randomized complete block design with three replications in both greenhouse and field conditions. The experimental factors included four substrates (cocopeat + peat moss, cocopeat + vermicompost, cocopeat + date peat and cocopeat + perlite as controls, all with a volumetric ratio of 50:50) and five levels of fertilizer including NPK fertilizer, phosphozist biofertilizer containing phosphorus-fixing bacteria Pseudomonas putida strain p13 and Pantoea agglomerans strain p5, powdered humic acid, and Acadian seaweed containing brown algae powder Ascophyllum nodosum and the control. After planting tomato seeds in the seedling tray, and formation of true leaves, the transplants were sprayed with the mentioned fertilizers with a concentration of 0.1%. Thirty eight days after planting, the seedling trays were transferred to the laboratory to evaluate traits including transplant height, leaf number, root fresh and dry weights, root length, root volume, and SPAD index. In the field experiment, transplants of the first experiment were planted in the research farm located in Minab. After seedlings establishment, they were treated with the fertilizers used in the first experiment, including phosphozist, algae, humic acid, and NPK, in the three stages of transplanting, before flowering and at the time of fruit formation, in the amount of 2 liters and 2 kg, 2 kg and 10 kg per hectare, respectively, with irrigation water. At the end of the field experiment, quantitative traits including the number of fruits per plant, average fruit weight and total fruit yield, and fruit qualitative traits including firmness, total soluble solids (TSS), titratable acidity (TA) and, ascorbic acid content were measured.

Results: The results of greenhouse study showed the significant effect of the planting substrate on all traits of tomato transplant, while the effect of fertilizer type was significant only on the leaf number, root length and volume, and SPAD index. The highest values of these traits were often obtained in the cocopeat + vermicompost, while the lowest means of transplant vegetative traits were measured in the cocopeat + date peat substrate. In confirmation of these results, it has been reported that the presence of vermicompost in the seed bed, due to the availability of more nutrients, improvement of the soil physical properties, and increased water retention, leads to an increase in the vegetative growth of the seedling (1). In each planting bed, the application of all fertilizers improved the vegetative traits of tomato transplant, however, in most cases, the highest means were observed with the use of phosphozist. It has been reported that fertilizers containing phosphorus-dissolving bacteria increased the vegetative growth of the aerial and underground organs of tomato transplants (2). The results of the field study showed that the fruit traits were affected by the substrate in the greenhouse and fertilizer in the field. Besides, the seedlings previously grown under the treatments that improved seedling vigor, had better vegetative and qualitative characteristics in the field condition. It has been shown that the transplants that are produced under suitable conditions, after transferred to field, have a better ability to take up nutrients and water, have a higher growth rate and therefore have more potential yield under field conditions (3).

Conclusions: The results showed that, the highest means of the evaluated traits of transplant were related to the cocopeat + vermicompost substrate. In this study, the application of all fertilizers caused a significant increase in transplant vegetative traits, and in most cases algae and phosphozist fertilizers were superior to other fertilizers. The results of the field study indicated that the proper management of seedling production through the selection of suitable substrate and fertilizer resulted in the seedlings with better vegetative characteristics. Therefore, after being transferred to the field, via better vegetative growth, the quantitative and qualitative traits of tomato plants were improved significantly.

1. Blouin, M., Barrere, J., Meyer, N., Lartigue, S., Barot, S., Mathieu, J., 2019. Vermicompost significantly affects plant growth. A meta-analysis. Agronomy for Sustainable Development 39: 34. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13593-019-0579.
2. Kim, J., Kim, S., Nam, I., 2021. Effect of treating acid sulfate soils with phosphate solubilizing bacteria on germination and growth of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.). International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18(17): 8919. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18178919.
3. Qin, K., Leskovar D. I., 2020. Humic substances improve vegetable seedling quality and posttransplant yield performance under stress conditions. Agriculture 10(7): 254. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture10070254.

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Type of Study: Research | Subject: Soil (growth medium) and plant relations in greenhouse culture
Received: 2023/02/19 | Accepted: 2023/03/30 | Published: 2023/06/18

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