Growth and mycorrhizal colonization of maize plants treated with aqueous extracts from nonmycorrhizal weeds

Abstract: The objective of this work was to evaluate the influence of aqueous extracts of nonmycorrhizal weedy species on dry matter accumulation and assimilate partitioning of maize plants, with or without Cetraspora pellucida inoculation. The experiment was carried out in pots, in a completely randomized design, in a 5x2 factorial arrangement consisting of four plant extracts (purple nutsedge, guinea-hen weed, slender amaranth, and knotweed), a control irrigated with water, and two conditions (mycorrhizal and nonmycorrhizal maize plants), with four replicates of each treatment. Plants were irrigated with aqueous extracts diluted at 15%. Root colonization (RC), shoot dry matter (SDM), root dry matter (RDM), and RDM/SDM were evaluated. Root colonization was not influenced by the extracts, and ranged from 41.5 to 65.2%. Shoot dry matter of mycorrhizal (AM) and nonmycorrhizal (NM) plants was not influenced by the extracts; however RDM showed varying responses. Mycorrhization favored the production of RDM, and increased plant sensitiveness to the extracts. Guinea-hen weed extract increased RDM of AM plants, while the other extracts inhibited it. In NM plants, the production of RDM was benefited by slender amaranth extract, to the detriment of SDM. Mycorrhizal and nonmycorrhizal maize plants respond differently to aqueous extracts of nonmycorrhizal weeds.