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  • 1 University of Debrecen Department of Botany and Crop Physiology, Institute of Plant Sciences, Centre for Agricultural and Applied Economic Sciences Böszörményi u. 138 H-4032 Debrecen Hungary
  • 2 University of Debrecen Institute of Food Science, Quality Assurance and Microbiology, Centre for Agricultural and Applied Economic Sciences Böszörményi u. 138 H-4032 Debrecen Hungary
  • 3 University of Debrecen Agricultural Laboratory Centre, Centre for Agricultural and Applied Economic Sciences Böszörményi u. 138 H-4032 Debrecen Hungary
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Biofertilizers are used to improve soil fertility and plant production in sustainable agriculture. However, their applicability depends on several environmental parameters. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effect of free-living bacteria containing fertilizer on the growth of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. cvs. Delicates) under aluminium (Al) stress. Different responses to Al stress of cucumber growth parameters were examined in terms of root elongation and physiological traits, such as Spad index (relative chlorophyll value), biomass accumulation of root and shoot, Al uptake and selected element contents (Fe, Mn, Zn, Mg) of leaves and root. The applied bacteria containing biofertilizer contains Azotobacter chroococcum and Bacillus megaterium. The dry weights of cucumber shoots and roots decreased in line with the increasing Al concentration. Due to different Al treatments (10−3 M, 10−4 M) higher Al concentration was observed in the leaves, while the amounts of other elements (Fe, Mn, Zn, Mg) decreased. This high Al content of the leaves decreased below the control value when biofertilizer was applied. In the case of the roots the additional biofertilizer treatments compensated the effect of Al. The relative chlorophyll content was reduced during Al-stress in older plants and the biofertilizer moderated this effect. The root/shoot ratio was decreased in all the Al-treatments in comparison to the control. The living bacteria containing fertilizer also had a modifying effect. The root/shoot ratio increased at the 10−4 M Al2(SO4)2 + biofertilizer and 10−4 M Al(NO3)3 + biofertilizer treatments compared to the control and Al-treatments. According to our results the biofertilizer is an alternative nutrient supply for replacing chemical fertilizers because it enhances dry matter production. Biofertilizer usage is also offered under Al polluted environmental conditions. Although, the nutrient solution is a clean system where we can examine the main processes without other effects of natural soils. The soil can modify the results, e.g. the soil-born microorganisms affect nutrient availability, and also can modify the harmful effects of different heavy metals. The understanding of basic processes will help us to know more about the soil behaviour.

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