Journal of Earth, Environment and Health Sciences

: 2015  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 71--75

Effect of Biological and Organic Fertilizers on the Growth Parameters of Salvia Officinalis

Hadi Radnezhad, Maryam Foroughi Abari, Masoumeh Sadeghi 
 Department of Environmental Sciences, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran

Correspondence Address:
Hadi Radnezhad
Department of Environmental Sciences, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan


Context: This study examined the effect of biological and organic fertilizers on the growth parameters of an herb named Salvia officinalis. Settings and Design: Its characteristics include germination, number of leaves, length, and dry weight of root and shoot. A total of 11 treatments (4 replications) including a vermicompost treatment and a cow manure treatment (both at 25% and 50% levels); four vermicompost treatments of 25% and 50% levels mixed with Azotobacter and Azospirillum and three treatments of Azotobacter, Azospirillum, and control constituted the focal point of the study. Results: The results obtained from the statistical analyses performed at P ≤ 0.05 are as follows: (1) Azospirillum and 50% cow manure treatments had the most and least significant effects on germination and root length, respectively; (2) once combined with Azospirillum, 25% vermicompost treatment affected the length of the root and shoot more significantly compared to the vermicompost and Azospirillum treatments delivered individually; (3) the number of leaves and dry weight of root and shoot were not significantly different across the treatments; and (4) 25% vermicompost and 50% cow manure and Azospirillum treatments exerted the maximum influence upon the number of leaves and the dry weight of shoot and root. Conclusion: Although treatments had different effects, they were not significantly different. The 25% vermicompost treatment had a better effect than its 50% level counterpart.

How to cite this article:
Radnezhad H, Abari MF, Sadeghi M. Effect of Biological and Organic Fertilizers on the Growth Parameters of Salvia Officinalis.J Earth Environ Health Sci 2015;1:71-75

How to cite this URL:
Radnezhad H, Abari MF, Sadeghi M. Effect of Biological and Organic Fertilizers on the Growth Parameters of Salvia Officinalis. J Earth Environ Health Sci [serial online] 2015 [cited 2022 Sep 30 ];1:71-75
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Biofertilizers play an important role in supplying nutrients essential for plants to produce agriculturally sustainable, economical, and environment-friendly products. As Motsara et al. [1] assert, these fertilizers included live or latent cells of efficient strains of nitrogen fixing and phosphate solvent or usable cell microorganisms on seed and soil. Producing food in natural forms, developing biodiversity, increasing biological activities, and improving the environmental quality are considered as other advantages of these fertilizers. The main group of biofertilizers is related to plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) [2] and it includes a large variety of free-living and collective bacteria existing in soil causing nitrogen fixation and phosphate solution and also producing growth regulators, such as auxins, gibberellin, and cytokinins, and biological control for pests and plant growth. [3] Vermicompost is a bioorganic fertilizer that is a mixture of biologically highly active bacteria, enzymes, plant residues, animal manure, and capsules of earthworm, which leads to the continuation of decomposition of soil organic matter and an increase of a microbial activity in the plant growth media. [4]

However, some methods were developed to improve the nutrition of vermicompost. [5] One of these methods is inoculation of useful biological bacteria such as Azotobacter and Azospirillum. [6] Belimov et al. [7] showed that soil inoculation using mixtures of bacteria makes better balanced plant nutrition and improves the absorption of nitrogen and phosphorus in the root zone due to the interplay between the phosphate solubilizing bacteria and nitrogen stabilizers. Of the different types of organic matter, vermicompost has a considerable potential to improve the soil fertility. [8],[9] The 50% vermicompost of low concentration level had the most significant effect on the growth and yield of tomato plants [10] but the higher concentration level of the same adversely affected the growth and yield attributes. [11] In addition, higher proportions of vermicompost, according to Atiyeh et al., [8] both improves and reduces the growth level.

Given the side effects of chemical drugs, the production of medical herbs has gained worldwide recognition and the enhancement of the quality, quantity, and safety of the active ingredients of natural products have been brought to the forefront to date. Kapoor et al. [12] argue in favor of the effect of biofertilizers on boosting the plant yields both quantitatively and qualitatively. The present study was an attempt to unearth the effect that organic and biological fertilizers (for example, vermicompost, bacterial biofertilizers, and cow manure) may have on the growth parameters of Salvia officinalis including germination, number of leaves, and length and dry weight of root and stem. A total of 11 treatments (4 replications) including a vermicompost treatment and a cow manure treatment (both at 25% and 50% levels); four vermicompost treatments of 25% and 50% levels mixed with Azotobacter and Azospirillum and three treatments of Azotobacter, Azospirillum, and control constituted the focal point of the study.

 Materials and Methods

Experimental site and material

The design of the current study was a randomized complete block one in which 11 treatments and 4 replications were conducted in some greenhouse pots (mouth diameter = 25 cm; height = 26.5 cm) located in Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran. In the course of the experiment, the maximum day and night temperatures were 36°C and 9°C, respectively, and the average temperatures per day and night were 14°C and 25°C, respectively. Needless to say, such temperature conditions supposed to influence the vermicompost, Azotobacter, Azospirillum, cow manure, vermicompost inoculation with Azotobacter, and vermicompost inoculation with Azospirillum. The soil samples were collected from an agricultural land around the university as the context of the study.

Experimental treatments

Each treatment was conducted in four pots, so there existed a total of 44 pots for 11 treatments. Pots 1-4 were filled with arable soil as a control sample, pots 5-8 with 25% vermicompost and 75% soil, pots 9-12 with 25% vermicompost mixed with Azotobacter and 75% soil, pots 17-20 with 50% vermicompost and 50% soil, pots 21-24 with 50% vermicompost mixed with Azotobacter and 50% soil, pots 25-28 with 50% vermicompost mixed with Azotobacter and 50% soil, pots 29-32 with 25% cow manure (FYM) and 75% soil, pots 33-36 with 50% cow manure and 50% soil, pots 37-40 with soil inoculation with Azotobacter, and pots 41-44 with soil inoculation with Azospirillum. Afterwards, 25 seeds of S. officinalis were planted in each pot that was then covered with soil and was irrigated every 2 days.

Growth measurement

The number of germinations was calculated every 2 days, the germination percentage and rate were calculated accordingly. Next, the number leaves was counted after each treatment and the length of the stems and roots were measured using a ruler. In addition, the fresh weight of the shoots and roots existing in the pots for each treatment was measured. After collecting the roots and stem samples, the researcher kept them in an oven for 48 h at 70°C temperature. Under this condition, the roots and stems were dried, and finally their dry weight was calculated with ease.

Data analysis

The data pertinent to the germination percentage and rate, root and shoot length, fresh and dry weights of root and shoot were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software version 19 (SPSS-Inc., Chicago, IL). The results are presented in the following paragraph.

 Results and Discussion

Plant growth parameters

[Table 1] indicates the results of variance analysis of the plant growth features including the number of leaves, root and shoot length, dry weight of root and shoot, and germination percentage. As shown by the Duncan's multiple range test performed at P ≤ 0.05, the means are not significantly different.{Table 1}


As indicated by [Table 1] and [Figure 1], significant differences were found between 50% vermicompost inoculated with Azospirillum, Azotobacter, 50% cow manure, and other treatments. The highest and lowest levels of influence on germination percentage were related to 50% vermicompost inoculated with Azospirillum and 50% cow manure treatments, respectively. Significant differences of germination percentage were also observed between low treatments of 25% and 50% cow manure. The 50% cow manure treatment hindered germination, but its 25% counterpart was correlated with the highest germination percentage. According to Wong et al., [13] the germination percentage and root growth are highly influenced by animal fertilizers due to their high content of ammonia and ethylene. In this study, the Azotobacter treatment was demonstrated to have a much more significant effect on germination compared to other kinds of treatment. This effect can, as Martinez-Toledo et al. [14] opined, be related to the ability of Azotobacter to produce ammonia, vitamins, growth nutrients, acetic acid indole, gibberellins, auxins, and cytokinins that are thought to bring about an increase in the germination rate. Sharing the same thought, [15] it can be explained that these hormones enhance root growth and nutrient absorption.{Figure 1}

Roots and shoots

Gained from the statistical analyses discussed earlier, the results presented in [Table 1] and [Figure 2] and [Figure 3] revealed that the root and shoot length was observed to be significantly different across the study treatments. As for the root length, the control treatment was significantly different from all the experimental treatments except for 50% vermicompost mixed with Azospirillum. The lowest and the highest levels of influence on the root length were exerted by the control treatment and the treatment that was a mix of 25% vermicompost and Azospirillum. The vermicompost mixed with bacteria had a more significant effect on root length than the individual vermicompost treatment. Also, at the same level the 25% manure treatment outperformed the control treatment. Regarding the stem length, significant differences were found between the study treatments. There was no significant difference between such treatments as the cow manure treatment, control treatment, and 50% vermicompost treatment combined with Azotobacter, whereas a significant difference emerged between other treatments. It was the control treatment that had the greatest effect on the length of the stem, while the 50% vermicompost made the slightest influence upon this plant feature. The 25% cow manure treatment was significantly different from other treatments (e.g. 50% vermicompost). Once combined with bacteria, the 25% vermicompost treatment was shown to be more influential than other sorts of treatment. At two levels (i.e., 25% and 50%), Azotobacter and Azospirillum together performed much more influentially than when they are used individually. {Figure 2}{Figure 3}

Plant growth promoting bacteria (PGPB) are often found near or within plant roots. These bacteria enhance the growth of the plants in different ways such as nitrogen fixation and synthesis and production of plant hormones, antibiotics, and compounds produced by fungicides. [16] The root length is increased by synergies between vermicompost and bacteria. The role that Azotobacter could assume in boosting multiple but various characteristics associated with the plants can be due to the ability of the bacteria to produce such biologically active compounds, such as gibberellins, and vitamins that can directly stimulate plant growth. [14]

Moreover, Azospirillum can be capable of stimulating growth like auxins. [17] Govindan et al. [18] showed that Azospirillum can stimulate the growth of the ginger root. Interestingly, when Azospirillum is inoculated by plants, the average root length is 16.6 cm, but the root is 21 cm long once Azospirillum doesn't undergo any inoculation processes. Once compared with 25% vermicompost, 50% vermicompost is recognized as having the most significant effect on the growth parameters associated prominently with the plant. Consequently, the incorporation of the vermicompost treatment into soil increased not only the nutrients required for the plant, but also the shoot length by improving the physical conditions and biological processes suitable for the soil with the result that an enabling environment for the growth of the root was established. Sahni et al. [19] contend that the humic acid present in VC may affect biochemical processes in plants and/or bacteria, resulting in induction of resistance in plants to certain phytopathogens. They go on to add that gibberellic acid (GA) involved in many developmental processes of the plants throughout their life cycle. Lange et al. [20] believe that GA is comprised of molecules that can regulate the signaling growth and integration processes in many plants, including the elongation of stems and roots. Signaling may also be able bring about root and shoot development. [21] The hormone-like activities carried out by the vermicompost can lead to an increase in root biomass, root growth, and development. [22],[23]

Number of leaves

[Table 1] and [Figure 4] indicate that there is a significant difference between the study treatments in terms of the number of the leaves. The 25% manure treatment was significantly different from other experimental treatments that were, in turn, different from the control one. The number of leaves was highly influenced by the 25% manure treatment, but was slightly affected by the control treatment. The combined vermicompost at the 25% level was significant in this regard, but it was not as significant as the 25% and 50% level treatments by bacteria. The microbes, such as fungi, bacteria, yeasts, and algae, which are able to produce auxins and gibberellin, are produced in large quantities during the vermicompost treatment [24],[25] and largely increase the plant growth. [9]{Figure 4}

Dry weight of root and shoot

As for the dry weight of root and shoot, significant differences were observed between the experimental treatments, on the one hand, and the experimental and control treatments on the other [see [Table 1], [Figure 5] and [Figure 6]. The highest level of shoot dry weight was related to the 25% vermicompost mixed with Azotobacter. The shoot dry weight value gained from the 25% vermicompost combined with bacteria indicated that it was more significant than the individual vermicompost treatments. A significant difference with other treatments was noted. Also, a higher effect was achieved by this treatment in comparison with the cow manure. Kapoor et al. [12] showed that when the root is inoculated with phosphate solubilizing bacteria, it increases the stem dry matter. With respect to the root dry weight, a significant difference was found between the 25% manure and other treatments. The 25% vermicompost mixed with Azotobacter and control treatment appeared to have the highest and lowest influence, respectively, on the root dry. The highest impact was made by the vermicompost mixed with bacterial at the 25% level as compared to the vermicompost or bacterial treatments alone.{Figure 5}{Figure 6}


A significant change in the growth parameters associated with S. officinalis was demonstrated by the current study through the application of different levels and types of animal fertilizers at differing vegetative stages. For instance, the 50% cow manure appeared to stop the germination in the early growth stages. Significant differences were observed between the cow manure treatments at both levels. Of all the study treatments, the 50% vermicompost mixed with Azospirillum was the most dominant treatment as far as germination was concerned. The 25% cow manure came next in this respect. It was made crystal clear that a highly critical role was played by the 25% cow manure treatment meaning that it had a positive effect on the growth parameters discussed earlier in this paper. When the two levels of vermicompost treatments were compared, the 50% vermicompost treatment was found to be more significantly influential on parameters such as the number of the leaves, root length, and dry weight of root and shoot. Combined treatments have more significant effect than the individual ones.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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