Alleviating Plant Water Stress with Biofertilizers: A Case Study for Dragon’s Head (Lallemantia iberica) and Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) in a Rainfed Intercropping System

Fatemeh Zamani, Reza Amirnia, Esmaeil Rezaei-Chiyaneh, Mohammad Gheshlaghi, Moritz von Cossel, Kadambot H.M. Siddique

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Legume/non-legume intercropping combined with biofertilizer application is a sustainable strategy for improving nutrient uptake and crop productivity. This study investigated the effects of biofertilizers and cropping patterns on macro- and micronutrients, seed yield (SY), and physiological characteristics of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) and Dragon’s head (Lallemantia iberica). The treatments included five cropping patterns: Dragon’s head monocropping (Dm), chickpea monocropping (Cm), intercropping one row Dragon’s head + one row chickpea (1D:1 C), intercropping two rows Dragon’s head + one row chickpea (2D:1 C), and intercropping one row Dragon’s head + two rows chickpea (1D:2 C), and two biofertilizer applications: arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and bacterial biofertilizer (BF). The Dm and Cm treatments with BF produced the maximum SY for chickpea (977.9 kg ha–1) and Dragon’s head (993.6 kg ha–1). In contrast, the intercropping ratios of 1D:1 C and 2D:1 C with BF produced the highest macro- and micronutrient concentrations for chickpea and Dragon’s head, respectively. Also, 1D:1 C and 2D:1 C intercropping with BF produced the highest chlorophyll a and b and carotenoid concentrations in both species. Interestingly, Dm and Cm without fertilization produced the maximum proline (1.68 and 6.01 mg g–1) and carbohydrate (11.07 and 10.65 mg g–1) concentrations in chickpea and Dragon’s head, respectively. These results indicate that intercropping chickpea and Dragon’s head (especially the 2D:1 C intercropping pattern) combined with BF application may pave the way to more sustainable agronomy for improving physiological activities and nutrient uptake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-264
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Plant Production
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

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