Evaluation of the Integrated Effect of Organic, Chemical and Biological Fertilizers on Yield of Marshmallow (Althea officinalis L.) as a Medicinal Plant

Document Type : Scientific - Research


1 Department of Agrotechnology, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran

2 Department of Crop Production, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Torbat Heydarieh, Iran


Medicinal plants have an important role in different industries. So, increasing production of their yields is necessary. Medicinal plants contain phytochemical compounds which have demonstrated bioactive properties. The active principles of the plants are generally secondary metabolites. The use of ecological farming methods, may improve yield and quality. In the last decade, agricultural production, which is mainly based on the use of chemical material, is causing environmental problems. One of the pathways to mitigate this environmental impacts, is to apply the long-term approaches based on the principles of ecological agriculture. Soil microorganisms are the primary metabolites production in the soil can affect the results in the release of phosphorus. Compost can be used as an organic matter in controlling different types of debris and the reduction in fertilizer consumption in agricultural products and mineral absorption elements improve low consumption by plants. Present study aims to investigate the possibility of improving the growth, flower yield, shoot yield, seed yield and yield components of marshmallow as a medicinal plant affected as integrated management of organic, chemical and biological fertilizers.
Materials and Methods
A field experiment was performed as factorial layout based on a randomized complete block design with three replications at Agricultural Research Station, College of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran,                during growing season of 2012-2013. The experimental treatments were all combination of organic and chemical fertilizers in four levels (cow manure (40 ton.ha-1), urban compost (40 ton.ha-1), NPK as chemical fertilizer (114, 18 and 220, 40 kg.ha-1) and control) and inoculation with Thiobacillus and sulphur application in four levels (including inoculation with Thiobacillus, 200 kg.ha-1 sulphur + inoculation with Thiobacillus, 200 kg.ha-1 sulphur and control). plant height, leaf areal indexmax (LAImax), leaf dry weight, stem dry weight, total dry weight, flower, seed yield and yield components such as branch number, capsule number, number seed per capsule and 1000-seed weight and flower, seed and biological yield of marshmallow.
To analyze the variance of the experimental data and drawing of diagrams, MSTAT-C 8 and Excel software was used. All the averages were compared according to Duncan’s multiple range test (p≤0.05)
Results and Discussion
The results showed that the effect of organic, chemical and biological fertilizers were significant (p≤0.01) on plant height, LAImax, leaf dry weight, stem dry weight, total dry weight, flower and seed yield, yield components and biological yield of marshmallow. At the end of the growing season, the highest and the lowest LAImax were observed in chemical fertilizer with Thiobacillus +sulphur (12.3) and control (1.3). The maximum flower and seed yields were recorded in chemical fertilizer with Thiobacillus +sulphur (175.33 and 99.91 g.m-2, respectively) and the minimum were obtained in control treatments (32.33 and 9.31 g.m-2, respectively). Flower yield enhanced up to 100% under chemical, cow manure and compost fertilizers without Thiobacillus +sulphur, Thiobacillus, sulphur compared to control treatment. Flower yield improved up to 106, 89 and 72% for chemical fertilizer, cow manure and compost application with Thiobacillus +sulphur, respectively.
According to the results obtained in the present study, organic, chemical and biological fertilizers had significant effects on growth, shoot yield, flower yield, seed yield, biological yield and yield components of marshmallow. Therefore, due to the high pH of soils in agroecosystems, integrated application of sulphur with Thiobacillus inoculation could be considered as an effective approach for soil fertility improvement. organic matter increase soil water holding capacity, improving plant hormone-like activity, increase nutrient uptake by plants, and generally improve the growth and yield of medicinal plant.
This research was funded by Vice Chancellor for Research of Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, which is


Abd El-Wahab, A.M. 2007. Effect of nitrogen and magnesium fertilization on the production of Trachyspermum ammi L. (Ajowan) plants under Sinai conditions. Journal of Applied Sciences Research 3(8): 781-786.
Akhavan, Z., Fallah, A.R., and Rezayi Amroabadi, S. 2012. Effect of sulfur and Thiobacillus inoculants on iron, zinc, copper and manganese concentration in canola in greenhouse condition. Journal of Agronomy and Plant Breeding 8(3): 191-197. (In Persian with English Summary)
Atanasov, Z., Slavov, S.I., Koseva, D., Decheva, R., and Gargova, N. 1979. Application of single and compound mineral fertilizers to peppermint. Plant Science 1: 61-65.
Azizi, M. 2000. Evaluation the impact of some environmental and physiological factors on growth and yield and essential oil content of hypericum under agronomic and in vitro conditions. PhD Thesis in Horticultural Sciences, College of Agriculture, Tarbiat Modarres University, Tehran, Iran. (In Persian with English Summary)
Bachman, G.R., and Metzger, J.D. 2008. Growth of bedding plants in commercial potting substrate amended with vermicompost. Bioresource Technology 99: 3155-3161.
Besharati, H. 2001. Preparing appropriate medium for Thiobacillus and study of it’s interaction with VAM and grain yield of wheat. PhD Thesis, Tarbiat Modarres University 212 pp. (In Persian with English Summary)
Cao, H., Zhang, L., and Melis, A. 2001. Bioenergetic and metabolic processes for the survival of sulfur-deprived Dunaliellasalina (chlorophyta). Journal of Applied Phycology 13: 25-34.
Cheesman, A.W., Turne, B.L., and Reddy, K.R. 2011. Soil phosphorus forms along a strong nutrient gradient in a tropical Ombrotrophic wetland. Soil Science Society of America Journal 76: 1496-1506.
Clark, R.J., and Menary, R.C. 1980. The effect of irrigation and nitrogen on the yield and composition of peppermint oil (Mentha piperita L.). Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 31(3): 489–498.
Dawood, F., Al-Omaqri, S.M., and Murtatha, N. 1985. High level of sulfur affecting availability of some micronutrients in calcareous soil. pp. 55-68. In: Proceeding of Secondary Regional Conference on sulfur and its usage in Arab countries. Riyadh, 2-5 March 1985, Saudi Arabia.
De Araujo, A.S.F., de Melo, J., and Singh, R.P. 2010. Municipal solid waste compost amendment in agricultural soil: Change in soil microbial biomass. Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology 9: 41-49.
Dordas, C. 2009. Dry matter, nitrogen and phosphorus accumulation: partitioning and remobilization as affected by N and P fertilization and source-sink relation. European Journal of Agronomy 30: 129-139
Doroudian, H.R., Besharati Kelayeh, H., Fallah Nosrat Abad, A.R., Heidary Sharif Abadi, H., Darvish, F., and Allahverdi, A. 2010. Study of absorbable phosphorus changes in lime soils and its impact on corn yield. Agricultural Modern Knowledge (Modern Knowledge of Sustainable Agriculture) 6(18): 27-35. (In Persian with English Summary)
Gardner, F.P., Pearce, B., and Mitchell, R. 1985. Physiology of Crop Plants. Iowa State University Press, Science 327 pp.
Iran Nejad, H., Shahbazian, N., and Piri, P. 2006. Evaluation of distribution and nitrogen fertilizer effect on yield of marshmallow as a medicinal plant under Kashan region. The First Regional Conference of Herbs, Spices and Aromatic Plants. Shahrekord, Iran. p. 4. (In Persian)
Karla, A. 2003. Organic Cultivation of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. A Hope for Sustainability and Quality Enhancement. Journal of Organic Production of Medicinal, Aromatic and Dye-Yielding Plants (MADPs). FAO.
Kartikeyan, B.C., Abdul Jaleel, G.M., Lakshmanan, A., and Deiveekasundaram, M. 2008. Studies on rhizosphere microbial diversity of some commercially important medicinal plants. Colloids and Surfaces B: Bionterfaces 62: 143-145.
Lambers, H., Chapin, F.S., and Pones, T.L. 2008. Plant Physiological Ecology. 2nd Edition Springer. 604 pp.
Leithy, S., El-Meseiry, T.A., and Abdallah, E.F. 2006. Effect of biofertilizer, cell stabilizer and irrigation regime on rosemary herbage oil quality. Journal of Applied Sciences Research 2: 773-779.
Maeder, P., Fliessbach, A., Dubois, D., Gunst, L., Fried, P., and Niggli, U. 2002. Soil fertility and biodiversity in organic farming. Science 296(5573): 1694-1697.
Mkhabela, M.S., and Warman, P.R. 2005. The influence of municipal solid waste compost on yield, soil phosphorus availability and uptake bye two vegetable crops grown in a pugwash sandy loam soil in Nova Scotia. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 106: 57-67.
Nassiri Mahallati, M., Koocheki, A., Rzvani Moghaddam, P., and Beheshti, A.R. 2001. Agroecology. Ferdowsi University of Mashhad Publication, Mashhad, Iran. (In Persian)
Omid Beigi, R. 1995. Approaches for Production and Processing of Medicinal Plants. Tarrahan-e-Nashr Publication, Iran. (In Persian)
Pandey, R. 2005. Management of Meloidogyne incognita in Artemisia pallens with bio-organics. Phytoparasitica 33: 304-308.
Pathirathna, L.S.S., Waidyanatha, U.P.De.S., and Peries, O.S. 1989. The effect of apatite and elemental sulfur mixtures on the growth and P content of Centrocema pubescent. Fertilizer Research 21: 37-43.
Patra, D.D., Anwar, M., and Chand, S. 2000. Integrated nutrient management and waste recycling for restoring soil fertility and productivity in Japanese mint and mustard sequence in Uttar Pradesh, India. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 80: 267-275.
Pimentel, D. 1993. Economics and energies of organic and conventional farming. Journal of Agriculture and Environment Ethics 6: 53-60.
Pouryousef, M., Chaichi, M.R., and Mazaheri, D. 2007. Effect of different soil fertilizing systems on seed and mucilage yield and seed P content of isabgol (Plantago ovata Forsk.). Plant Sciences 6: 1088-1092.
Rao, B.R.R. 2001. Biomass and essential oil yields of rainfed palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii (Roxb.) Wats. var. motia Burk.) supplied with different levels of organic manure and fertilizer nitrogen in semi-arid tropical climate. Industrial Crops and Products 14: 171-178.
Roy, D.K., and Singh, B.P. 2006. Effect of level and time of nitrogen application with and without vermicompost on yield, yield attributes and quality of malt barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Indian Journal of Agronomy 51: 40-42.
Samsam Shariat, H. 1995. Production and Reproduction of Medicinal Plants. Mani Publication, Iran. (In Persian)
Scott, M.A. 1988. The use of worm-digested animal wastes as a supplement to peat in leas composts for hardy nursery stocks. p. 221-229. In: Edwards, C.A., and Neuhayser, E. (Eds.) Earthworm in Waste and Environmental Management. SPB Academic Press, Netherlands.
Shabahang, J., Khorramdel, S., Siahmargue, A., and Gheshm, R. 2016. Evaluation of integrated management of organic manure application and mycorrhiza inoculation on growth criteria, qualitative and essential oil yield of hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis L.) under Mashhad climatic conditions. Journal of Agroecology 6(2): 353-363. (In Persian with English Summary)
Sing, A.K., Bisen, S.S., Sing, R.B., and Biswas, S.C. 1998. Effectiveness of compost towards increasing productivity of some medicinal plants in skeletal soil. Advances in Forestry Research in India 18: 64-83.
Singh, M., and Guleria, N. 2013. Influence of harvesting stage and inorganic and organic fertilizers on yield and oil composition of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) in a semi-arid tropical climate. Industrial Crops and Products 42: 37-40.
Taiz, L., and Zeiger, E. 2006. Plant Physiology. The Benjamin Publishing Co. 764 pp.
Tate, R.L. 1995. The Sulfur and Related Biogeochemical Cycle. p. 359-372. In: Soil Microbiology, John Willey and Sons INC, New York.
Tisdale, S.L., Nelson, W.L., J.D., Beaton and Havlin, J.L. 1993. Soil Fertility and Fertilizers. 5th ed. McMillan Publishing Co., New York.
Tomati, U., Grappei, A., and Gaili, E. 1988. The hormone-like effect of earthworm casts on plant growth. Biology and Fertility of Soils 5: 288-294.
Vance, C.P., Uhde-Stone, C., and Allan, D.L. 2003. Phosphorus acquisition and use: critical adaptation by plants for securing a non- renewable resource. New Physiology 157: 423-447.
Vessey, J.K. 2003. Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria as biofertilizer. Plant and Soil 255: 571-586.
Zapata, F., and Roy, R.N. 2004. Use of Phosphate Rocks for Sustainable Agriculture. A Joint Publication of the FAO Land and Water Development Division and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2004.
Joy, P.P., Thomas, J., Mathew, S., and Skaria, B.P. 1998. Medicinal plants. Kerala Agricultural University. Aromatic and Medicinal Plants Research Station. Odakkali, Asamannoor P.O., Ernakulam District, Kerala, India 211 pp.