HYDERABAD: Proper selection and application of appropriate symbionts can improve yield of red gram, which is also known as pigeon pea or kandulu in Telugu, according to a new study conducted by the University of Hyderabad (UoH) researchers.
After a three-year collaboration with two UK-based groups, a UoH research team made a breakthrough in plant symbiosis studies related to pigeon pea. The team was led Prof. Appa Rao Podile of Department of Plant Sciences at UoH. Pigeon pea, is a climate-smart pulse crop of Indian origin and is widely grown in the tropical drylands around the globe. However, the crop often suffers from inconsistent yields and poor nodule formation in India.
The study concluded that the low nodulation efficiency of pigeon pea is due to the inadequate presence of appropriate symbionts in the soils. Indian soils were mainly found to harbour non-symbiotic Rhizobium spp. The new findings will pave the way for selecting and applying appropriate symbionts to improve pigeon pea yields and nodulation under Indian conditions. It suggests that inoculant strain selection of symbionts should be based not only on their nitrogen fixation potential but on their competitiveness in agricultural soils.