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  • 1 Hassan II University, Casablanca, Morocco
  • | 2 University of Naples Federico II, via Università 100, 80055 Portici (NA), Italy
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Abstract

Plant litter decomposition is a crucial process of nutrient cycling within ecosystems. However, many studies have shown that, apart from its several beneficial effects, organic matter decomposition can be disadvantageous to seed germination, seedling growth, and physiological activity of plants. Litter decomposition was reported to affect both plants and their associated soil microbial communities. The aim of this work was to test the relationships between seed-associated endophytic fungi on the either positive or negative plant's response to different litter types. Leaf material of four species was collected and used in a decomposition experiment inside a growth chamber for 120 days. The plant growth experiment was set in a greenhouse using Trifolium repens and Triticum durum with and without their associated endophytic fungi in the presence of the different litter species at two decay levels (fresh litter and after 120 days of decomposition). Results demonstrated that fresh litter exerted a strong inhibition effect on the plant total biomass when compared to decomposed litter. Moreover, seed-associated endophytic fungi enhanced the inhibitory effect of litter in the observed experimental conditions. The removal of seed-associated endophytic fungi improved the capacity of tested plants to resist to litter inhibitory effect.

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