Bacillus subtilis Y16 and biogas slurry enhanced potassium to sodium ratio and physiology of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) to mitigate salt stress

Samina Hamid, Iftikhar Ahmad, Muhammad Javed Akhtar, Muhammad Nadeem Iqbal, Muhammad Shakir, Muhammad Tahir, Atta Rasool, Annum Sattar, Mahreen Khalid, Allah Ditta, Bo Zhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Salinity harms crop productivity; thereby, the management of salt-affected soils is a prerequisite to obtaining optimum crop yields and achieving UN-SDGs. The application of bio-organic amendments is an eco-friendly and cost-effective technique for the management of salt-affected soils. Therefore, this study examined the effect of salt-tolerant Bacillus subtilis strain Y16 and biogas slurry (BGS) on growth, physiology, and yield of sunflower under salt-affected soil conditions. Three levels of soil salinity (original electrical conductivity (EC): 3 dS m−1; induced EC: 6 dS m−1 and 8 dS m−1) were evaluated against three levels of BGS (0 kg ha−1, 600 kg ha−1, and 800 kg ha−1) with and without bacterial inoculation. Soil salinity (EC = 8 dS m−1) significantly (P < 0.05) increased Na+ contents (86%), which significantly (P < 0.05) reduced growth (17–56%), physiology (39–53%), and yield (58%) of sunflower. However, the combined application of BGS and B. subtilis alleviated salt stress and significantly (P < 0.05) improved sunflower growth (11–179%), physiology (10–84%), and yield (106%). The correlation analysis showed the superiority of B. subtilis for inducing salt-stress tolerance in sunflower as compared to BGS through homeostasis of K+/Na+ ratio. The tolerance indices and heat map analysis revealed an increased salt-stress tolerance in sunflower by the synergistic application of BGS and B. subtilis at original (3 dS m−1) and induced (6 dS m−1) soil salinity. Based on the results, we conclude that the combined application of B. subtilis and BGS enhanced growth and yield of sunflower by improving physiological processes and adjustment of K+/Na+ ratio in shoot under moderate salt-stress soil conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38637-38647
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number29
Early online date18 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


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