Quantitative and qualitative responses of Catharanthus roseus to salinity and biofertilizer

ABSTRACT The development of agriculture in the northeastern semi-arid region depends, at least in part, on the correct exploitation and efficient use of natural resources. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of the use of saline water on morphophysiological responses and sensory analysis of ‘Boa noite’ plants (Catharanthus roseus) in soil fertilized with bovine biofertilizer. A completely randomized design was used in the split plot arrangement, the plots being formed by the five irrigation water salinity levels (0.5, 2.5, 5.0, 7.5 and 10 dS m-1), and the subplots by two frequencies of application of the 150 mL pot-1 of liquid bovine biofertilizer (divided into one and five times), with five replicates. The analysed variables were: leaf gas exchange relative chlorophyll index, biometry, dry matter (leaf, stems, flowers and roots) and sensory analysis (general appearance and buyers’ preference). Quantitative (growth and physiological) and qualitative (sensory analysis) responses show that Catharanthus roseus plants can be produced using saline water at the level of 2.5 dS m-1, and the plants of this treatment were preferred by the judges in sensory analysis. Biofertilizer application frequency did not attenuate the effects of salinity. Therefore, the liquid bovine biofertilizer can be applied all at once, reducing costs.