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Rice fields were inoculated with four isolates of Azolla pinnata R. Br. from Thailand, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and India as well as with fresh or dry blue-green algae (BGA). Increments in biomass and N yield of Azolla and BGA were compared, and their effects on rice yields and yield components were studied. Inoculation of Azolla (500 kg fresh weight/ha) 10 days after rice transplanting (DAT) and of BGA (10 kg/ha dry and 100 kg/ha fresh) 3 DAT yielded maximum biofertilizer biomass at 30 and 80 DAT, respectively. The establishment of BGA in the rice field was faster and the biomass and N yield were initially higher in the case of the fresh than in that of the dry inoculum. At the flowering stage (80 DAT), however, these parameters were similar with both inocula. Azolla isolates grew more rapidly than BGA and produced a mat on the water surface 30 DAT. The relative growth rates of the Thailand and Vietnam Azolla isolates were higher than those of the Bangladesh and Indian isolates. Significant increases in tiller numbers, plant height, panicle number, panicle weight, grain and straw yields, total dry matter, and N uptake were observed in dual cropping with Azolla and BGA. Grain and N yields in the plots treated with Azolla and BGA were comparable to those obtained following application of 30 kg N/ha as urea. Straw yield in BGA dual cropping was significantly lower than after application of 30 kg N/ha as urea or after Azolla treatments. The 4 Azolla isolates did not differ as to their effects on rice grain and straw yields.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Blue-Green Algae, Central Rice Research Institute


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