Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Plant Production Engineering and Genetics, Faculty of Agriculture, Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University of Khuzestan, Khuzestan, Iran

2 Department of Plant Protection, Faculty of Agriculture, Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University of Khuzestan, Khuzestan, Iran


Introduction: The plant chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) has a very important role in various pharmaceutical, food, cosmetic and health industries due to its active compounds such as chamazulene, alpha-bisabolol as well as alpha-bisabolol A.Chamomile plant (Matricari chamomilla L.) has a very important role in various pharmaceutical, food, cosmetic and health industries due to its compound compounds such as camazolin, alphabisabolol and alphabisabolol A. In this plant, organic nutrition and improved absorption of mineral elements would play an important role in the raise of yield and essence quality. Therefore, the use of biofertilizers such as mycorrhizal-like fungi is regarded as an important issue in the reduction of chemical fertilizer application and maintain crop health and the environment in nowadays agriculture. The use of the natural mineral, zeolite, is one of the new strategies in agricultural development for increasing water and nutrient use efficacy, where it improves plant growth through its capacity for water preservation and supply of nutritional materials.
Material and methods: To study the effect of the application of the fungus Serendipita indica and the natural zeolit (Clinoptilolite) on the quantitative and qualitative yield of the German chamomile cv. Presov, a factorial experiment based on randomized complete block design with three replicates was performed in the experimental field of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources University of Khuzestan during 2006-2007. The experimental factors included the fungus with two levels (either inoculation/ no inoculation) and zeolit with four levels of the application rates (tonnes per hectare): Z1 (0), Z2 (5), Z3 (10) and Z4 (15). After crop harvest performed omitting the marginal effect in a border-band of 50 cm width per plot surroundings, the traits of the number of secondary branches, the number of flowers per plant, biological yield, essence percentage, essence yield, the rate of phenolics, and flavonoids as well as the rate of antioxidant activity were determined.
Results and discussion: The inoculation with the fungus and the lower levels of zeolit led to increased number of secondary branches and of flowers per plant. The highest rate of biological yield was obtained with 10 tonnes of zeolit per hectare, which was not statistically a significant difference from other levels of zeolite application but still significantly different from that in control. Higher percentage of extract could be produced with lower rates of zeolit. The highest rate of extract yield was yielded as a result of the inoculation with S. indica. Furthermore, the application of zeolite led to increased extract yield, so that the lowest rate of extract yield resulted from the no zeolit treatment. The rate of flavonoids, as well as phenolics were higher when the fungus was inoculated than in the absence of inoculation.
Conclusion: Considering the results of this research, the beneficial impacts of zeolite, as well as the mycorrhiza-like fungus application are notable as an organic nutritional system in the provision of most nutrients required by the medicinal plant chamomile, and in turn  the increase of its extract yield. Moreover, the advantages of the substituent nutritional system can environmentally be considerable compared to traditional agricultural systems.


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