iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Variations in the performance of hybrid poplars subjected to the inoculation of a microbial consortium and water restriction

Marco A Yáñez (1)   , Sergio Espinoza (2), Juan Ovalle (3), Carlos Magni (1), Eduardo Martínez-Herrera (1)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 16, Issue 6, Pages 352-360 (2023)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor4378-016
Published: Dec 13, 2023 - Copyright © 2023 SISEF

Research Articles

There is an increasing interest in using plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) to improve hybrid poplar performance under water stress conditions. We assessed the growth and leaf-level physiological responses of different hybrid poplar clones to the inoculation of a microbial consortium and subjected to moderate water shortage. In a nursery experiment, growth, leaf gas exchange, and biomass partitioning traits were assessed during one growing season on twenty hybrid clones from interspecific crosses of Populus trichocarpa × P.deltoides and (P. trichocarpa × P. deltoides) × P. deltoides, which were submitted to two treatments of PGPM inoculation (Inoculated, Inoc_1 vs. non-inoculated, Inoc_0) and two irrigation treatments (full water vs. water restriction). The water restriction decreased shoot growth, photosynthetic rate (Asat), and stomatal conductance (gs); increased intrinsic water use efficiency (WUEint) of the hybrid clones but it did not change the root-to-shoot ratio. Unlike our expectations, by the end of the study, treatment Inoc_1 slightly decreased basal diameter (D) and height (H) relative to Inoc_0 (5.8% and 5.2 %, respectively). Moreover, seven clones significantly decreased the root biomass by 37% to 62% in the Inoc_1 relative to Inoc_0 treatment, while the other clones showed no response to the inoculation. Oppositely, while most of the clones showed no response to the Inoc_1 treatment on leaf-physiological traits compared to Inoc_0, some of them exhibited an increase of Asat of 15% to 39%. Overall, the consortium applied did not improve the responses to the water restriction, and responses to the inoculation were more associated with a deleterious than a growth-promoting effect, which is discussed in the context of nutrient immobilization, application method, and timing.


Biomass Partitioning, Leaf-physiological Traits, PGPM Inoculation, Poplar Clones, Water Stress

Authors’ address

Marco A Yáñez
Carlos Magni 0000-0002-9939-0381
Eduardo Martínez-Herrera
CESAF, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales y de la Conservación de la Naturaleza, Universidad de Chile, Avenida Santa Rosa 11365, La Pintana (Chile)
Sergio Espinoza
Departamento de Ciencias Forestales, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias y Forestales, Universidad Católica del Maule, Avenida San Miguel 3605, Talca (Chile)
Juan Ovalle 0000-0002-8487-3487
Departamento de Silvicultura y Conservación de la Naturaleza, Universidad de Chile, Av. Santa Rosa 11315, Santiago (Chile)

Corresponding author

Marco A Yáñez


Yáñez MA, Espinoza S, Ovalle J, Magni C, Martínez-Herrera E (2023). Variations in the performance of hybrid poplars subjected to the inoculation of a microbial consortium and water restriction. iForest 16: 352-360. - doi: 10.3832/ifor4378-016

Academic Editor

Claudia Cocozza

Paper history

Received: May 11, 2023
Accepted: Sep 30, 2023

First online: Dec 13, 2023
Publication Date: Dec 31, 2023
Publication Time: 2.47 months

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