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Effects of boron application and treatment with effective microorganisms on the growth, yield and some quality attributes of broccoli

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Franczuk J., Rosa R., Zaniewicz-Bajkowska A., Słonecka D. 2019.
Effects of boron application and treatment with effective microorganisms
on the growth, yield and some quality attributes of broccoli.
J. Elem., 24(4): 1335-1348. DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2019.24.2.1787
Journal of Elementology ISSN 1644-2296
ORIGINAL PAPER
RECEIVED: 19 December 2018
ACCEPTED: 23 May 2019
EFFECTS OF BORON APPLICATION
AND TREATMENT WITH EFFECTIVE
MICROORGANISMS ON THE GROWTH, YIELD
AND SOME QUALITY ATTRIBUTES OF BROCCOLI*
Jolanta Franczuk, Robert Rosa, Anna Zaniewicz-Bajkowska,
Dominika Słonecka
Department of Vegetable Crops
Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities, Siedlce, Poland
AbstrAct
The paper deals with the effects of boron topdressing and Effective Microorganism (EM) treat-
ments on the growth, yield and quality of broccoli harvested in summer. EM is a microbial inoc-
ulant promoted to stimulate plant growth and soil fertility in agriculture. Boron (B) is one
of eight micronutrients needed for proper plant growth. Different combinations of Effective
Microorganism were applied: added to the nursery substrate before planting seeds (EM1); added
to the nursery substrate before planting seeds and as topdressing in a form of spray after seed-
lings were planted out (EM2); as pre-planting treatment in the eld, just before the seedlings
were transplanted (EM3); as pre-planting treatment in the eld, followed by topdressing
as a spray (EM4); control (without EM). Boron was applied as mineral fertilizer three weeks
after broccoli seedlings had been planted out in the eld. The experiment was carried out
between 2014 and 2015, at the Experimental Station of Siedlce University of Natural Sciences
and Humanities, located in central-eastern Poland. Compared to the control, each method
of Effective Microorganisms application to broccoli signicantly increased its marketable curd
yield, average curd weight and leaf greenness index (SPAD). Plants had the longest arc of curd
and the largest L-Ascorbic acid content when EM were added to the substrate and then applied
in the eld in the form of spray. Effective Microorganisms applied as EM1, EM2, and EM3
combinations increased the potassium and calcium content in broccoli. However, there was
no signicant effect of EM application on dry matter, sugar and protein content in broccoli
curds. Boron application to broccoli resulted in an increase in the marketable curd yield,
the weight of marketable curds, the length of arc of curd, and dry matter, phosphorus and
potassium content.
Keywords: bio-stimulators, Brassica oleracea L. var. italica, mineral fertilization, nutritional
value, yield.
dr hab. inż. Robert Rosa, Department of Vegetable Crops, Siedlce University of Natural
Sciences and Humanities, Prusa 14 st., 08-110 Siedlce, Poland; phone: +48 25 643 12 76,
e-mail: robert.rosa@uph.edu.pl
* The research carried out under research project No 226/06/S was nanced from a science
grant awarded by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.
1336
INTRODUCTION
Effective microorganisms (EM) are applied increasingly often to stimu-
late nutrient cycling and plant growth. They are not nutrients, and they can
only help plants to take in nutrients and stimulate their resistance to stress
factors (Sabeti et al. 2017). They are benecial microorganisms of natural
origin. Apart from photosynthetic bacteria, effective microorganisms include
milk bacteria, yeast, selected species of fungi and actinomycetes. The main
species included in EM preparations are lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus
plantarum, Lactobacillus casei, Streptococcus lactis, photosynthetic bacteria
Rhodopseudomonas palustris and Rhodobacter sphaeroides, the yeasts
Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida utilis, the Actinomycetes Streptomyces
albus and Streptomyces griseus, and nally the fungi Aspergillus oryzae
and Mucor hiemalis (Xu 2001, WielgoSz et al. 2010). EMs also affect soil
physical and chemical properties and its biological activity. There are other
positive results of their application such as improvement of soil structure
and fertility, elimination of putrefactive processes, acceleration of organic
compound mineralization and improvement of the availability of such
nutrients as N and P (lack et al. 2013). Among others, HuSSein and Joo
(2011), Satekge et al. (2016), SHaHeen et al. (2017) and SmitH (2016) found
that the use of EM increased crop productivity. marScHner (2007) reported
that the stimulating effect of microorganisms on plant growth could
be caused by the fact that they produce secondary metabolites, growth hor-
mones, phytochelatin, organic acids and B vitamins. Xu Hui-lian et al.
(2001) observed that EM stimulated photosynthetic processes and increased
the weight of plants. Effective Microorganisms also positively affect plant
resistance to external factors and pathogens, which is why they are used
in fruit and vegetable growing. They can be used for seed conditioning, seed-
ling soaking, plant foliar spraying and watering. They can be applied
throughout the growing season, and their use does not require a withdrawal
period (Sabeti et al. 2017).
Boron (B) is one of the eight essential micronutrients, also called trace
elements, required for the normal growth of most plants (WeiSany et al.
2013). It enhances the growth and yield of plants because it stimulates
division and elongation of the cell and development of its walls. goldbacH
and Wimmer (2007) and miWa et al. (2007) underline that boron plays
an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins. Boron
deciency causes many anatomical, physiological and biological disorders
(broWn et al. 2002).
The natural content of boron in the soil depends mainly on the type
of material from which it has developed. Clay soils are generally rich
in boron in contrast to sandy ones, in which boron may be present in small
amounts. Boron concentrations in soils vary from 2 to 200 mg B kg-1, but
generally its forms available to plants constitute less than 5 to 10% (diana
1337
2006). In Poland, sandy soils dominate and the content of this chemical
element is insufcient, which necessitates supplementation of boron with
mineral fertilizers either to soil or as a foliar spray (Szulc, rutkoWSka 2013).
One of the vegetable species with the greatest demand for boron is broccoli.
A representative of the Brassicaceae family, broccoli (Brassica oleracea L.
var. Italica Plank) is a common vegetable plant of the Mediterranean origin.
It is tasty and more nutritious than any other vegetables of the same
genus. It is considered to be a valuable source of vitamins, antioxidants,
glucosinolates and other anti-carcinogenic compounds.
The experiment dealt with the effects of Effective Microorganisms (EM)
applied in different combinations and of boron topdressing on the broccoli
yield and selected nutrient content.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Experimental site
The experiment was carried out between 2014 and 2015, at the Experi-
mental Station of Siedlce University of Natural Sciences and Humanities,
located in central-eastern Poland (52°03′N, 22°33′E). The soil was classied
as Luvisol, with the average organic carbon content of 0.97%, the humus
layer reaching the depth of 30-40 cm, and pHKCl of 6.0. The content of avail-
able forms of nutrients in the soil (mg kg-1) was as follows: 4.7 NO3-N,
2.5 NH4-N, 12 P, 27 K, 10.8 Mg, 87.5 Ca, 0.11 B.
Experimental design
The experiment was established as a split-plot design with three repli-
cates and two factors: factor I – mineral fertilisation (MF), factor II – different
methods of using Effective Microorganisms (EM) – Table 1.
The Effective Microorganisms used in the experiment are a mixture
of benecial microorganisms, composed of ve families, ten genera and more
than 80 types of aerobic and anaerobic microbes, including photosynthetic
bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, yeast, Actinomycetes, fungi and so on.
Boron was used in the form of Nitrabor fertilizer. It contains calcium
nitrate with 15.4% N (including 14.1% NO3-N and 1.3% NH4-N), 25.6% CaO
and 0.3% boron. It is recommended to apply to vegetables, especially
to species that require increased doses of boron.
Seedling preparation
Broccoli seedlings of cv. Wiarus were grown in a non-heated greenhouse.
Seeds were sown in the successive study years on the 17 and 20 of March
to multi-trays of the size of 400 × 600 mm, with 54 cells and the cell diame-
ter of 54 mm. 60% of seedlings were produced without the addition of EM
1338
and 40% on substrate mixed with 10% EM water solution. EM was applied:
1 dm3 of the solution in 1 m3 of the substrate. The substrate used for the
production of seedlings was made of de-acidied “highmoor” peat, pH 5.5-6.5
and salinity no greater than 2 g NaCl l-1. The substrate was enriched
with mineral fertiliser containing NPK (14-16-18%) and Mg (5%). On aver-
age, the nutrient content in the substrate was as follows (mg dm-3):
238 NO3-N, 18 NH4-N, 70 P, 207 K, 1016 Ca and 158 Mg.
Field work
Broccoli was preceded by triticale, and the eld was cultivated and
ploughed in the autumn. In the spring, disc harrowing was used two weeks
before seedlings were planted out. After that, mineral fertilizers were applied
at the doses of 206 kg N, 146 kg P2O5, 273 kg K2O ha-1 to supplement the
nutrient content to the optimal level for broccoli. The seedlings were planted
on 18 or 22 of April in the two successive years, at a spacing of 50 × 50 cm.
Directly after planting, each seedling on the EM3 unit was watered
with 1 litre of 10% solution of Effective Microorganisms. Then, for three
weeks the soil was mulched with polypropylene fibre in an amount
of 17 g m-2. After removing the bre, the plants were topdressed with mineral
fertilizers. 62 kg ha-1 of nitrogen was applied to plants in the MF1 treatment
(the same amount of nitrogen as on MF2, where it was supplied with
Nitrabor). A Nitrabor dose of 400 kg ha-1 was used together with 1.2 kg ha-1
B in the MF2 combination. Finally, EM2 and EM4 plants were sprayed with
10% EM solution.
Table 1
Factors of the experiment
Factor I: Two mineral fertiliser combinations
MF1
basic pre-planting treatment NPK (206 kg N, 146 kg P2O5, 273 kg K2O ha-1
in the form of ammonium nitrate, granular superphosphate and 60% potassium
chloride, respectively) + nitrogen topdressing to the soil (62 kg ha-1 – in the form
of ammonium nitrate)
MF2
basic pre-planting treatment NPK (206 kg N, 146 kg P2O5, 273 kg K2O ha-1
in the form of ammonium nitrate, granular superphosphate and 60% potassium
chloride, respectively + Nitrabor topdressing to the soil (400 kg ha-1).
Factor II: Five combinations with Effective Microorganisms (EM)
EM0 control without EM.
EM1 EM added to the substrate during seedling production (1 litre of 10% EM water
solution to 1 m3 of substrate)
EM2 EM added to the substrate during seedling production (1 litre of 10% EM water
solution to 1 m3 of substrate) + topdressing with 10% EM solution as a foliar spray
EM3 EM applied to seedlings planted out in the eld (each seedling watered with 1 litre
of 10% EM solution)
EM4 EM applied to seedlings planted out in the eld (each seedling watered with 1 litre
of 10% EM solution) + topdressing with 10% EM solution as a foliar spray
1339
Sample collection and laboratory analysis
Broccoli was harvested by hand on 12 June 2014, and on 11 June 2015.
Afterwards, the following parameters were determined: marketable yield,
weight of marketable curds, length of the curd arc and stalk diameter. From
each plot, a sample was taken for chemical analyses to determine dry mass
(by drying to constant weight at 105°C), L-ascorbic acid (Tillmans method),
monosaccharide (Luff-Schoorl method), protein content (Kjeldahl method,
using a factor of 6.25) and selected mineral components. The phosphorus
content was measured via colorimetry on a SPEKOL 221 spectrophotometer.
Potassium and calcium were determined with a FLAPHO 41 ame photome-
ter. Magnesium was determined on a SOLAR 929 ATI UNICAM atomic
absorption spectrophotometer. Before harvetsing the broccoli curd, the leaf
greenness index (SPAD) was measured (with a SPAD-502 Plus Konica Minolta®).
Statistical analysis
The results were statistically analysed with ANOVA, following the mod-
el for the split-plot design. The signicance of differences was determined
with the Tukey’s test at the signicance level of P0.05. All the calculations
were performed with Statistica 10.0 software.
Weather conditions
Air temperatures and rainfall, especially during the planting of broccoli
seedlings, were higher in 2014 than in 2015 (Figure 1). However, more
favourable weather conditions for broccoli growth and development were
in 2015. In May 2014, high air temperatures contributed to weaker growth.
In the same year, unfavourable distribution of rainfall during the rst three
weeks of June depressed the yield of curds.
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
18
20
123123123
AprilMay June
airtemperature (°C)
month/decade
2014
2015
monthlymultiannualmean (1960- 2003)
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
123123123
April MayJune
precipitation (mm)
month/decade
2014
2015
monthlymultiannualsum (1960- 2003)
Fig. 1. Weather conditions during the broccoli growing period according
to the Zawady Meteorological Station, Poland
1340
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The two-year average marketable yield of broccoli curds was 11.6 t ha-1
(Table 2). In 2015, with more favourable weather conditions, the yield was
about 6.5% higher than in 2014. EM application also contributed to its sub-
stantial growth, and compared to the control the average yields increased
by 1.5 t ha-1 (EM3, EM4), 1.7 t ha-1 (EM1) and 3.9 t ha-1 (EM2), i.e. by 15.2%,
17.2 and 39.4%, respectively. During the research, the highest statistically
signicant yield was on harvested from the plots where EM had been applied
to seedlings and to plants in the eld as topdressing (EM2). A signicant
increase in marketable yield, compared to the control, was noted after EM1
and EM4 application in 2014, and after EM3 treatment in 2015.
EM application signicantly increased the average weight of marketable
broccoli curds. The biggest ones were harvested on plots with the EM2 com-
bination (Table 2), where the difference relative to the control was 163.5 g
(64.6%). Curds harvested in 2015 were on average 48.1 g heavier than
in 2014. HuSSein and Joo (2011) found that EM treatment of Chinese
cabbage (Brassica rapa) seedlings considerably improved plant growth
and increased their weight. Similarly, while examining the effect of EM
on the growth and yield of cv. Optima cabbage, Satekge et al. (2016) recorded
Table 2
The yield of broccoli
Treatments Year Mineral fertilization Mean
2014 2015 MF1 MF2
Marketable yield (t ha-1)
EM0 9.0a* 10.4a8.7 11.1 9.9a
EM1 12.0b11.4a11.2 12.1 11.6b
EM2 13.0c15.1c12.9 14.7 13.8c
EM3 11.0a12.0b10.1 12.6 11.4b
EM4 12.0b11.1a10.3 12.6 11.4b
Mean 11.0A12.0B10.6A12.6B11.6
Weight of marketable curd (g)
EM0 236.5 269.8 229.9a276.4a253.1a
EM1 330.3 390.8 352.5b368.7b360.6b
EM2 391.8 441.3 412.5d420.7c416.6d
EM3 368.5 423.3 383.5c408.3c395.9c
EM4 377.8 420.2 378.0c420.0c399.0c
Mean 341.0A389.1B351.3A378.8B365.0
* Values followed by different lowercase letters in columns and different uppercase letters
in rows differ signicantly at P ≤ 0.05
1341
a 78.7% increase in fresh matter weight of heads in relation to the control.
SHaHeen et al. (2017) noted an increase in the curd yield and in leaf length
and surface after EM application to spinach seeds. koWalSka (2016) noted
that foliar and soil application of the EM Farma-Plus fertilizer resulted
in the highest yield of potatoes grown in an organic system; in addition,
there was a benecial effect of the use of EM and mineral fertilizer, such
as a higher share of marketable potatoes in the whole yield.
In the present experiment, in all EM variants, boron topdressing (MF2)
resulted in a signicant increase in the marketable yield of curds (on aver-
age by 18.9%) and their marketable weight (by about 7.8%) compared to the
control (Table 2). A signicant increase in the weight of marketable curds
after applying boron was also recorded on the control plots without EM
(20.2%), in the EM3 combination (by 6.5%), and in the EM4 combination (by
11.1%). A positive effect of boron on the total yield of broccoli curds was also
noted by other authors, for example HuSSain et al. (2012), SingH et al. (2015),
iSlam et al. (2015), and Farooq et al. (2018). In addition, HuSSain et al. (2012)
and SingH et al. (2015) found a signicant increase in curd weight. The opti-
mum levels of NPK and boron applied to broccoli positively affect photosyn-
thetic efciency and improve other processes like enzyme activation, protein
and carbohydrate accumulation, and translocation of sugar and starch;
because of all that the yield also increases (SHaH et al. 2010).
The length of the arc of curds harvested in 2015 was on average about
43 mm bigger than in 2014 (Table 3). Curds with the longest arc (238 mm)
Table 3
Length of broccoli arc and stalk diameter
Treatments Year Mineral fertilization Mean
2014 2015 MF1 MF2
Length of curd arc (mm)
EM0 187ab* 233a204 216 210a
EM1 194b235a215 215 215a
EM2 235c240ab 232 243 238b
EM3 181a248b210 220 215a
EM4 190ab 245ab 214 221 218a
Mean 197A240B215A223B219
Stalk diameter (mm)
EM0 30 33 32 32 34
EM1 34 26 30 36 26
EM2 29 31 30 30 32
EM3 25 26 25 25 27
EM4 30 28 29 30 28
Mean 30 29 29 31 29
* Values followed by different lowercase letters in columns and different uppercase letters
in rows differ signicantly at P ≤ 0.05
1342
were collected after EM application to seedlings and as topdressing
in the form of spray (EM2). The best effect of EM in 2014 was achieved by
their use on seedlings, followed by topdressing in the form of spray (EM2).
In 2015, pre-planting application in the eld (EM3) was the most effec-
tive. In 2014, curds with the smallest arc length were obtained from
the EM3 plants, and in 2015 they were produced by the control plants grown
without EM.
For all EM combinations, Nitrabor (MF2) signicantly increased curd arc
length in comparison with plants grown without boron (MF1). HuSain et al.
(2012) and Sing H et al. (2015) recorded doses a significant increase
for all boron compared to the control in broccoli curd and stem diameters.
In the present experiment, the stalk diameter of broccoli was on average
29 mm, and no signicant changes were recorded as a result of the applied
factors (Table 3). Satekge et al. (2016) noted a signicant increase relative
to the control in the diameter of cabbage stems after EM application.
As a result of all the methods of treatment, Effective Microorganisms
raised the index of leaf greenness, SPAD, in relation to the control (Table 4).
The effect of EM was particularly visible in 2014. These results were consis-
tent with the ones obtained by other authors, like HuSSein and Joo (2011),
who noted that EM treatment of Chinese cabbage seedlings resulted
in an increase in the index compared to plants cultivated without EM.
Satekge et al. (2016) recorded a signicant increase in the chlorophyll con-
tent in cabbage leaves when EM were applied.
In broccoli leaves topdressed with boron (MF2), an increase of the green-
ness index SPAD was also noted for all treatment combinations, but the
difference was not statistically signicant. cHatterJee and bandyopadHyay
(2017) found a signicant increase in SPAD in cowpea after boron applica-
tion. The increase was directly proportional to the applied doses of boron.
Dry matter content in broccoli curds throughout the research remained
similar and amounted to an average of 11.61%. Its smallest content (11.45%)
Table 4
Leaf greenness index (SPAD) of broccoli
Treatments Year Mineral fertilization Mean
2014 2015 MF1 MF2
EM0 74.5a* 79.1 74.7 78.9 76.8a
EM1 83.2b82.3 82.9 82.6 82.8b
EM2 84.2b82.1 82.2 84.2 83.2b
EM3 82.4b80.1 79.9 82.7 81.3b
EM4 80.9b83.3 78.3 85.9 82.1b
Mean 81.1 81.4 79.6 82.9 81.2
* Values followed by different letters in columns differ signicantly at P ≤ 0.05
1343
was found in curds from the EM3 combination, and was the highest (12.26%)
in the EM2 combination (Table 5). The differences, however, were not statis-
tically signicant.
Nitrabor application (MF2) contributed to a growth of dry matter content
by 1.31%, compared to units without it (MF1). A signicant increase in dry
Table 5
The content of selected components of nutritive value of broccoli
Treatments Year Mineral fertilization Mean
2014 2015 MF1 MF2
Dry matter (%)
EM0 12.18 11.18 11.15 12.21 11.68
EM1 11.47 11.73 10.81 12.38 11.60
EM2 11.94 12.64 11.76 12.83 12.29
EM3 11.19 11.72 10.78 12.13 11.45
EM4 12.16 12.36 11.52 13.01 12.26
Mean 11.79 11.93 11.20A12.51B11.86
Protein (g kg-1 FM)
EM0 42.6 38.4 41.5 39.4 40.5
EM1 40.7 39.8 40.1 40.3 40.2
EM2 39.1 41.7 39.7 41.1 40.4
EM3 39.7 41.2 39.7 41.2 40.5
EM4 38.7 42.5 40.8 40.5 40.6
Mean 40.2 40.7 40.4 40.5 40.4
Monosaccharides (g kg-1 FM)
EM0 16.8ab* 15.9 16.0 16.8 16.4ab
EM1 17.0b16.2 17.2 16.0 16.6ab
EM2 16.7ab 15.5 16.1 16.1 16.1ab
EM3 15.1a15.7 15.3 15.5 15.4a
EM4 17.7b15.9 16.9 16.7 16.8b
Mean 16.7B15.9 A16.3 16.2 16.3
Ascorbic acid (mg kg-1 FM)
EM0 675.1 625.1a650.1 650.1a650.1a
EM1 682.2 648.8ab 684.1B646.9aA 665.5ab
EM2 684.8 709.5c681.7 712.7b697.2b
EM3 663.5 678.8bc 671.6 670.7a671.2ab
EM4 677.5 657.6ab 661.1 674.0ab 667.6ab
Mean 676.6 664.0 669.7 670.9 670.3
* Mean followed by different lowercase letters in columns and different uppercase letters
in rows differ signicantly at P ≤ 0.05; FM – fresh matter
1344
matter content in broccoli curds as a response to boron application was also
noted by iSlam et al. (2015). Additionally, ningaWale et al. (2016) found
an increase in dry matter content in cauliower curds after borax treatment;
however, the increase was not statistically signicant.
In the present experiment the average protein content in broccoli curds
was 40.4 g kg-1 fresh matter. The experimental factors did not have a signi-
cant effect on that content in broccoli (Table 5). However, some authors have
reported that EM application to vegetables result in an increase in nitrogen
and protein content. Thus, following EM foliar application Frąszczak et al.
(2012) reported a signicant increase in nitrogen content in basil. A similar
increase in onion was reported by FaWzy et al. (2012), and an increase
in protein content in spinach was found by SHaHeen et al. (2017).
The content of monosaccharides in broccoli curds was, 16.3 g kg-1 fresh
matter on average. Their mean content in 2014 was signicantly greater
than in 2015 (Table 5). In 2014, the highest amounts of monosaccharides
were in broccoli curds from the EM4 combination (17.7 g kg-1 FM), being
signicantly lower in the EM3 combination. The content of monosaccharides
in plants treated with the other combinations was similar to that in EM4.
On average for both years of the research, the statistically signicantly high-
est amount of monosaccharides was found in broccoli curds treated with
EM4.
Boron application did not affect the content of monosaccharides in broc-
coli curds. Similarly, patel et al. (2017) did not observe any changes in the
content of sugars in broccoli treated with this element. However, meena
et al. (2015) found greater, compared to control, content of monosaccharides
and total sugar in tomato fruits treated with boron.
Ascorbic acid (AA) average content in curds was 670.3 mg kg-1 fresh mat-
ter. In 2014 it was higher by 12.6 mg kg-1 than in 2015, but this difference
was not statistically signicant (Table 5). In 2015 curds of broccoli treated
with EM2 and EM3 combinations contained signicantly more AA than con-
trol without EM. In addition, broccoli from the EM2 plots had higher content
of Ascorbic acid than from the EM1 and EM4 ones. Xu Hui-lian et al. (2001)
found that EM stimulated photosynthesis and affected vitamin C and sugar
content in tomato fruits. SHaHeen et al. (2017) noted a benecial effect
of their use on vitamin C content in spinach leaves. In the present research
an interaction was observed between mineral fertilizer and EM treatments.
A combined treatment with boron and EM2 signicantly increased the con-
tent of Ascorbic acid in broccoli curds compared to control as well as com-
pared to EM1 and EM3 treatments. However, in the combination with
EM added to nursery substrate at the time of the seedling production (EM1)
boron treatment resulted in a decrease in Ascorbic acid content in plants.
Compared with the basic treatment, patel et al. (2017) in broccoli curds
and meena et al. (2015) in tomato fruits did not note signicant changes
in the vitamin C content after boron application. However, in an experiment
1345
carried out by iSlam et al. (2015), boron treatment resulted in a statistically
signicant higher content of AA in broccoli.
The concentrations of the analyzed macronutrients in broccoli (Table 6)
were comparable with those reported by kałużewicz et al. (2016). Average
concentrations of P, K, Ca, Mg were 5.44, 22.8, 3.22 and 1.98 g kg-1. The con-
Table 6
The content of selected minerals of broccoli
Treatments Year Mineral fertilization Mean
2014 2015 MF1 MF2
Phosphorus (g kg-1 DM)
EM0 5.41 5.52 5.19 5.74 5.46
EM1 5.46 5.74 5.21 6.00 5.60
EM2 5.64 5.71 5.29 6.06 5.67
EM3 5.64 5.72 5.30 6.06 5.68
EM4 3.91 5.65 4.40 5.16 4.78
Mean 5.21A5.67B5.08A5.80B5.44
Potassium (g kg-1 DM)
EM0 22.1a* 22.2a21.7 22.6 22.1a
EM1 23.5ab 22.7ab 22.7 23.5 23.1b
EM2 24.1b24.0b24.0 24.1 24.0c
EM3 23.7b24.1b23.9 23.9 23.9bc
EM4 23.0ab 22.5a22.4 23.2 22.8ab
Mean 23.3B23.1A22.9A23.5B23.2
Calcium (g kg-1 DM)
EM0 3.27a3.14 3.27 3.15 3.21a
EM1 3.41b3.12 3.30 3.22 3.26ab
EM2 3.46b3.18 3.33 3.31 3.32b
EM3 3.43b3.18 3.33 3.28 3.30b
EM4 3.24a3.20 3.21 3.23 3.22a
Mean 3.36B3.16A3.29 3.24 3.26
Magnesium (g kg-1 DM)
EM0 1.86 2.01 1.97 1.91 1.94
EM1 1.89 2.06 1.99 1.96 1.97
EM2 1.92 2.11 2.06 1.96 2.01
EM3 1.95 2.03 2.06 1.92 1.99
EM4 1.90 2.05 1.99 1.96 1.98
Mean 1.90A2.05B2.01 1.94 1.98
* Mean followed by different lowercase letters in columns and different uppercase letters in rows
differ signicantly at P ≤ 0.05; DM – dry matter
1346
tent of potassium and calcium in broccoli curds harvested in 2014 was
signicantly greater, and that of phosphorus and magnesium was signicantly
lower than in 2015. Statistical analysis of the results indicated a signicant
effect of Effective Microorganisms on the content of K and Ca in broccoli
curds. Plants treated with EM1 had signicantly more potassium, and those
treated with EM2 or EM3 had signicantly more potassium and calcium
than untreated broccoli. Similarly, abou-el-HaSSan and el-SHinaWy (2015)
found that red cabbage grown on soil treated with EM-enriched compost con-
tained signicantly more K, Ca, and P than plants treated with compost not
enriched with EM. ncube et al. (2011) argue that the positive effects of EM
may consists in the stimulation of microbiological activity and enhancement
of the nutrient uptake by plant roots by solubilizing nutrients. kleiber et al.
(2013) did not nd any signicant effects of lettuce seed inoculation on mac-
ronutrient content in its leaves.
In the present experiment it was found that broccoli topdressed with
a fertilizer with the addition of boron contained signicantly more phospho-
rus and potassium. This is consistent with the research of other authors,
e.g. durSun et al. (2010), who noted an increase in the content of P and K,
but also Fe, Mn, Zn, and Cu in tomato, pepper and cucumber as a response
to boron topdressing. Similarly, eSringü et al. (2011) recorded greater con-
centration of P and K in strawberry plants treated with this chemical
element than in untreated ones. Moreover, durSun et al. (2010) noted that
vegetables treated with boron contained less Ca and Mg. Similarly, the con-
centration of these elements in the present experiment tended to be lower
in broccoli treated with boron than in untreated plants, but those differences
were not statistically signicant.
CONCLUSIONS
1. The highest broccoli yield was recorded after the application of Effec-
tive Microorganisms to the nursery substrate, supplemented with topdress-
ing in the form of spray after seedlings had been planted out. The increased
yield was an effect of greener leaves, which in turn resulted in more efcient
photosynthetic processes. EM application increased the content of ascorbic
acid, potassium and calcium.
2. Boron application increased the yield of plants used in the experiment.
By affecting photosynthesis and carbohydrate transport, boron contributed
to a substantial increase in the broccoli’s marketable yield (by 15.9%),
the weight of the curd (by 16.8%), and in dry matter content, in comparison
with that recorded in plants treated with mineral fertilizer only, without
boron. Boron addition increased phosphorus and potassium concentrations
in broccoli.
1347
3. The application of Effective Microorganisms to nursery substrate, com-
bined with topdressing with mineral fertilizer and boron after seedings have
been planted out, can be recommended to broccoli producers.
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