Authors:Sundoss Kabalan, Katalin Juhos, Eszter Tóth, and Borbála Biró
Cover crops serve as an essential source of nutrients in the soil and generally improve the soil’s properties. Cover crops’ production is considered a benefit of the soil quality; by protecting the soil from erosion, reducing the weeds and the so-called soil-borne plant pathogens. Different varieties of cover crops can be cultivated such as legumes, non-legumes, brassica, and grass-type of plants with a variability of the symbiosis. A pot experiment was carried out with five cover crops, as non-symbiont (Brassica carinata B.c.), single-symbiont with arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi (AMF) (Phacelia tanacetifolia P.t., Avena strigosa A.s.) and double symbiont with AMF and nitrogen-fixing bacteria (Vicia benghalensis V.b., Vicia faba V.f.) crops; and a mixture of the five species, placed in sandy soil (arenosol) in plastic pots (5000 g soil) in 4 repetitions. One of the pots with mixed cover crops was inoculated by AM fungi industrial product. We measured soil biological activity of dehydrogenase (DHA) and fluorescein-diacetate (FDA) enzymes, the frequency of AM fungi (F%), the all protein, glomalin content and electrical conductivity (EC) of the soils. Mixture of all the cover crops resulted maximum EC and significantly enhanced the enzymatic, DHA, FDA activities in comparison with single plants. Mycorrhiza colonization frequency was high in all cover crops except the mustard (B.c.), as nonsymbiont. Vetch (V.b.), as double symbiont was responding very positively to AMF inoculation, and enhanced the performance of its growth. It was found in the pot experiment, that vetch, has the highest capacity to retain soil-protein, glomalin concentration, as well. The mixture of five cover crops could be suggested to use, due to the synergistic positive performance of the individual crops, and the better functioning of beneficial fungal / bacterial symbiosis.