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Title

COMPARATIVE STUDY OF NUTRIENT UPTAKE BETWEEN SORGHUM X DRUMMONDII AND

CYPERUS CONGLOMERATUS, A DESERT SEDGE NATIVE TO THE UAE

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Elke Gabriel Neumann

Defense Date

26 September 2016

Abstract

Sudan grass (Sorghum x drummondii) is commonly grown for the production of animal fodder in the

UAE. Thenda (Cyperus conglomeratus) is a sedge native to the UAE, and one of very few plant species

that colonize soils of shifting desert dunes. As for the grand majority of other land plants, the roots of

Sudan grass associate with symbiotic soil fungi to form endomycorrhizas. These facilitate the uptake of

phosphate and other nutritional elements from the soil. Thenda is a non-host to these root symbionts.

In the desert sedges, rhizosheaths comprising of dense coats of root hairs and entangled soil particles

may constitue an alternative strategy to increase plant nutrient availability. The main goal of the present

study was to find out which of these two different plant species would be more successful in nutrient

uptake from agricultural soils of the UAE. Under filed and greenhouse conditions, Thenda took up larger

amounts of phosphate and micronutrients compared with Sudan grass. When the plants were grown with

roots partially sharing the same soil volume, there was no evidence for competitive interactions in terms

of nutrient acquisition. Possibly this was because Thenda and Sudan grass exploited different pools of

nutritional elements. Under field conditions, Thenda produced greater aboveground biomass compared

with Sudan grass. This suggests that Thenda has a great potential to serve in animal fodder production

or landscaping in arid lands.

Dissertation

SAFAA AHMED HAMDAN

ALGHASYAH ALDHANHAI

Department of Aridl and Agriculture

College of Food and Agriculture

Apr 27, 2020