Soybean (Glycine max L. Merril) is the
world’s most important seed legume, which contributes to 25 % of the
global edible oil, and is the number one oilseed crop in
India (Agarwal et al. 2013). In
terms of production it has emerged as the most important oilseed crop of India.
It stands unique in terms of chemical composition having isoflavones,
tocopherol and lecithin besides oil and protein. Owing to its amino acids
composition, the protein of soybean is called a complete protein. Its nutrition
value in heart disease and diabetes is well known. In India, soybean is mainly
grown as rainfed crop. Its productivity under rainfed conditions is hovering
around 1 t/ha despite the yield potential of up to 4 t/ha. The reason for
virtually static productivity of soybean is largely due to erratic, uneven and
inadequate rainfall and, other abiotic and biotic factors limiting the
productivity of soybean. Application of chemical fertilizers and
pesticides to soil is increasing every year to attain maximum yield in crops.
In India the use of chemical fertilizers has reached hundred times during the
last 5 decades (FAO Data, 2010). Microorganisms like bacteria and fungi present
in the soil play a major role in plant growth and conserving the environment.
It is well known that the addition of chemical fertilizers to soil is
detrimental to the microbial growth and deteriorates the soil quality. It is
essential to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers by introducing beneficial
microorganisms like mycorrhizal fungi, N fixers, P solubilizers, plant growth
promoting rhizomicroorganisms (PGPR) and biocontrol organisms to the field in
order to sustain plant productivity and to maintain soil health. These beneficial
microorganisms are applied to crops in order to sustain plant productivity and
to maintain soil health. The role of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi on the
growth and phosphate nutrition of various plants has been studied extensively (Bagyaraj
et al. 2015). All AM fungi are
obligate biotrophs and they benefit plants in several ways, for example by
increasing uptake of diffusion limited nutrients like P, Zn, Cu, etc., drought
tolerance, pathogen protection, beneficial alterations of plant growth
regulators and synergistic interactions with beneficial soil microorganisms (Bagyaraj,
2014; Kumar et al., 2016).
Mycorrhizal plants develop extensive root system as compared to non-mycorrhizal
plants, which ensures the plant with increased availability of water and
nutrient, thereby helping better plant growth and development (Bagyaraj, 2014;
Mathimaran et al. 2017). Host
preference in AM fungi has been reported by earlier workers which enable one to
screen and select the best AM fungi for inoculating a particular crop (Hemlata et al. 2012; Srinivasan et al. 2012). Hence in the present
investigation different AM fungi were used to screen and select the best AM
fungi for the inoculating two different drought susceptible cultivars of


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