Co-inoculation of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and bacteria can synergically and potentially increase nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) in plants, thus, reducing nitrogen (N) fertilizers use and their environmental impact. However, limited research is available on AMF-bacteria interaction, and the definition of synergisms or antagonistic effects is unexplored. In this study, we adopted a response surface methodology (RSM) to assess the optimal combination of AMF (Rhizoglomus irregulare and Funneliformis mosseae) and Bacillus megaterium (a PGPR—plant growth promoting rhizobacteria) formulations to maximize agronomical and chemical parameters linked to N utilization in maize (Zea mays L.). The fitted mathematical models, and also 3D response surface and contour plots, allowed us to determine the optimal AMF and bacterial doses, which are approximately accorded to 2.1 kg ha–1 of both formulations. These levels provided the maximum values of SPAD, aspartate, and glutamate. On the contrary, agronomic parameters were not affected, except for the nitrogen harvest index (NHI), which was slightly affected (p-value of < 0.10) and indicated a higher N accumulation in grain following inoculation with 4.1 and 0.1 kg ha–1 of AMF and B. megaterium, respectively. Nonetheless, the identification of the saddle points for asparagine and the tendency to differently allocate N when AMF or PGPR were used alone, pointed out the complexity of microorganism interaction and suggests the need for further investigations aimed at unraveling the mechanisms underlying this symbiosis.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)956391-N/A
RivistaFrontiers in Plant Science
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • Bacillus megaterium
  • Funneliformis mosseae
  • Rhizoglomus irregulare
  • biostimulants
  • nutrients uptake
  • plant growth promoting rhizobacteria


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