Response of Soil Chemical Properties to Rhizobium and Rock Phosphate Fertilizer Application under Green - Grams in Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya

Main Article Content

F. K. Mbaka
H. O. Ndukhu
G. O. Oloo-Abucheli


Soil fertility decline is one of the major constraints in agricultural productivity. Biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) in legumes can offer a cost-effective and sustainable means towards soil fertility management. There is limited information on green-gram BNF enhancement through Rhizobium inoculation with rock phosphate fertilizer. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of Rhizobium and rock phosphate fertilizer application on soil chemical properties under green-gram varieties. The study was carried out at Chuka university horticultural research farm in two seasons (November 2019 - January 2020 and February - April 2020). A factorial experiment of 2 x 2 x 2 was laid out in a randomized complete block design (RCBD). There were three factors; varieties (N26 and KS20), rock phosphate (0 and 30 kg P ha-1) and Rhizobium inoculation (0 and 100 g ha-1) making a total of eight treatments which were replicated three times. Soil sampling and analyses were done for soil pH, fixed-N, total nitrogen (TN), exchangeable cations (EC), available Phosphorous (P), total organic carbon (TOC), and exchangeable potassium (K) before planting and after harvesting of green-grams for the two seasons. Data was analysed using GENSTAT 15th edition (P≤0.05). Results from both seasons indicated that combined application of rock phosphate at 30 kg P ha-1 and Rhizobium inoculation at 100 kg ha-1 showed significant (P≤0.05) higher increase in soil chemical properties over other treatments. However, treatment R1P1KS20 recorded significantly higher results in soil pH (7.54), TN (0.58%), TOC (3.45%), P (68.20 ppm) and EC (0.95 CmolKg-1), fixed-N (0.50%) and K (1.75 CmolKg-1). On the other hand treatment R0P0N26 recorded significant (P≤0.05) lower results in soil pH (5.23), TN (0.04%), TOC (1.86%), P (8.76 ppm), EC (0.21 CmolKg-1) and K (0.58 CmolKg-1). Therefore, Rhizobium inoculation in green-grams in combination with rock phosphate is an important legume nitrogen fixation enhancement method. This method is cost effective for farmers in sustainably supplementing nitrogen and phosphorous in their farms for improved soil fertility management. Based on the findings, combining Rhizobium 100g ha-1 and rock phosphate 30 kg P ha-1 with variety KS20 were recommended for a sustainable soil fertility management in Tharaka Nithi County.

Agricultural productivity, nitrogen fixation, RCBD, Rhizobium inoculation, green-gram varieties, soil fertility

Article Details

How to Cite
Mbaka, F. K., Ndukhu, H. O., & Oloo-Abucheli, G. O. (2020). Response of Soil Chemical Properties to Rhizobium and Rock Phosphate Fertilizer Application under Green - Grams in Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya. Asian Journal of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 6(4), 43-52.
Original Research Article


Shisanya CA, Gitonga NM. Evaluation of nitrogen fixation using 15 N dilution methods and economy of maize-tepary bean intercrop farming system in Semi-arid SE-Kenya. Advances in Intergrated Soil Fertility Management in Sub-Saharan Africa. 2007;42(5):389-400.

Makoi JH, Ndakideni PA. Micronutrients uptake in common bean as affected by rhizobium inoculation, and supply of lime. Plant Omics Journal. 2012;4(1):40-52.

KALRO. Production of drought tolerant seeds. Greens-grams production in Kitui, Makueni and Tharaka Nithi. Retrieved from 2015;3:86 – 104.

Chapman HD. Cation exchange capacity. In methods of soil Analysis. Black CA, Series Agronomy: Am. Inst. Agronomy, Madison, Wisconsin. 1965;9(2):891-901.

Sarkodie-AddoJ, Adu-Dapaah H, Ewusi-Mensah N, Asare E. Evaluation of medium-maturing soybean (Glycine max (L) Merrill) lines for 168 their nitrogen fixation potentials. Journal of Science and Technology (Ghana). 2006;26(2):34-39.

Rashid M. Response of lentils to Rhizobium inoculation. Genetic diversity of Rhizobia nodulating lentils legumes. Review Research. 2013;26(3):99-112

Herridge DF, Peoples MB, Boddey RM. Global inputs of biological nitrogen fixation in agricultural systems. Plant and Soil. 2014;31(1):1-18

Patra RK, Pant LM, Pradhan K. Response of soybean to inoculation with Rhizobial strains: Effect on growth, Yield, N Uptake, and Soil N Status. Worlicescultural Scien Journal of Agru. 2012;8(1):51–54.

Danga BO, Ouma JP, Wakindiki IIC, Bar-Tal A. Chickpea-wheat rotation for higher production in a humid tropical region. Agronomy Journal. 2010;102:363-371.

DOI: 10.2134/agronj 2009.0145

Plaxton WC. Plant response to stress, biochemical adaptations to phosphate deficiency. In: R. Goodman (Ed). Encyclopaedia of plant and crop science. Marcel Dekker, New York. 2004;2(5):976-980.

Onduru D, De Jager A, Muchen, F, Gachani, G and Gachimbi L. Exploring potentials of Rhizobium inoculation in enhancing soil fertility and agro economic performance of cowpeas in Sub-saharan Africa: a case study in semi – arid Mbeere, Eastern Kenya. Am. Eurasian J. sustains. Agric. 2008;2(25):185- 197.

Solomon T, Pant LM, Angaw T. Effects of inoculation by Bradyrhizobium japonicum strains on nodulation, nitrogen fixation, and yield of soybean (Glycine max L. Merill) varieties on nitisols of] Utilization of nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) in an organic dairy farming system in Norway. Agric Ecosys Environ. 2012;104:509-522.

Gachimbi LN, Jager A, Van KK, Thuranira EG, Nandwa SM. Participatory diagnosis of soil nutrient depletion in semi-arid areas of Kenya. Managing Africa’s soil and improvement of phosphorus efficiency in soybean: a radical approach. Annals of Botany. 2002;29(265):245-274.

Wang X, Yan X, Liao H. Improvement of phosphorus efficiency in soybean: A radical approach. Annals of Botany. 2010;41(4): 145-159.

Jaetzold R, Hornetz B, Shisanya C. Farm management handbook of Kenya, Natural conditions and farm management information, Part C Eastern Kenya, Subpart CI Eastern province. Nairobi Kenya, Ministry of Agriculture. 2013;l(2): 235-254.

Asim MM, Aslam NI, Hashmi, Kisan NS. Mungbean (Vigna radiata) in wheat based cropping system: An option for resource conservation under rainfed ecosystem. 2016;37(4):1197-1204.

Hoorman J, Islam R, sundermeier A. Sustainable crop rotations with green-grams cover crops. 2009;1(2):121-132.

Miller R, Kaiser J, Ogle DG. Technical note in Legume inoculation, USD NRCS Bosie, Idaho. 2010;1(26):214-228.

Jaetzold R, Schmidt H, Hornetz B, Shisanya C. Farm management handbooks of Kenya, Vol. II: Natural conditions and farm management information, Part C East Kenya, Subpart CI Eastern province. Nairobi Kenya, Ministry of Agriculture. 2007;2(7):105-112

Hussain A, Ali Akhtar J, Yasin M Effects of phosphorous in combination with rhizobium inoculation on growth and yield parameters of mungbean. Crop and environment. 2010;2(1):53-56

Nelson DW, LE Sommers. Total carbon, organic carbon, and organic matter. In: A.L. Page, R.H. Miller and D.R Keeney) methods of soil analysis. Part 2 Chemical and Mcrobiological Properties.1982;45(6): 539-579.

Bambara KS. Effect of Rhizobium inoculation, molybdenum and lime on the growth and Nitrogen fixation in P. vulgaris L. Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Theses and Dissertations. 2009;25(5):102-106.

Mehlich A. Determination of P, Ca, Mg, K, Na, and NH4. North Carolina Soil Test Divisio.1953; 20(4): 23-89.

McCulley ME. Niches for bacterial endophytes in crop plants: A plant biologist’s view. Australian Journal of Plant Physiology. 2001;28(2):983–990.

Catroux G, Hartmann A, Revellin C. Trends in Rhizobial inoculant production and use. Plant and Soil. 2001;230(1):21-30.

Adeniyan ON, Ojo O, Akinbode O, Adediran J. Comparative study of different NPK fertilizer for improvement of soil chemical properties and dry matter yield of maize in two different soils. Journal of Soil Science and Environmental Management. 2011;2(1):9-13.

Yakubu H, Kwari J, Sandabe M. Effects of phosphorous fertilizer on nitrogen fixation by some grain legume varieties in sudano-Sahelian Zone of North Eastern Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Basic and Applied sciences. 2010;18(1):44-49.

Vanlauwe B, Giller K.E. Popular myths around soil fertility management in sub-Saharan Africa. Agriculture, Ecosystem and Environment. 2006;116(1):34-46.

Kimani PM, Gicharu GK., Mburugu N, Boga, Cheruiyot R. Nodulation and yield of bush and climbing beans inoculated with rhizobial strains. Bean improvement cooperative. Annual Report (USA). 2007; 16(50):181-182.

Ndakidemi. Response of Faba Bean and nutrient uptake to rhizobium inoculation and phosphorous application. 2011;1(1): 36-54.

Okalebo JR, Gathua KW, Woomer PC. Laboratory methods of soil and plant analysis: a working manual. TSBF Programme, Nairobi. 2002;2(7):36-37.

Daria J, Bangnikon J, Abeka-Afari, H, Hanif C, Addaquay J, Antwi V, Hale A. The Market for maize, rice, Soy and Warehousing in northern Ghana. USAID Enabling Agriculture Trade (EAT) Project. 2012;42(3):245-261.

Nyoki D, Ndakidemi PA. Selected chemical properties of soybean rhizosphere soil as influenced by cropping systems, Rhizobium inoculation, and the supply of phosphorus and potassium after two consecutive cropping seasons. International Journal of Agronomy. 2018; 10:321 –354.

Gicharu G, Gitonga N, Boga H, Cheruiyot R, Maingi J. Effect of inoculating selected climbing bean cultivars on nitrogen fixation. 2013;2(11):78-92.

Kimiti JM, Odee DW, Vanlauwe B. Area under grain legumes cultivation and problems faced by smallholder farmers in legume production in the semi-arid Eastern Kenya. Journal of sustainable Development in Africa. 2009;11(4):410-428.

Maida JHA. Phosphorus status of some Malawi soils. African Journal of Agricultural Research. 2013;8(32):4308-4317.

Asuming-Brempong S, Wiafe Y, Aggrey MK. Nodulation of cowpea at different levels of phosphorous in Typic Kandiustalf. Agricultural science Research Journal. 2001;3(12):387-394.

NITHI CG. Retrieved April 20TH, 2019, From County Government of Tharaka Nithi; 2013.

Wasike VW, Lesueur D, Wachira FN, Mungai NW, Mumera L, Sanging N. Genetic diversity of indigenous Bradyrhizobium nodulating promiscuous soybean (Glycine max (L) Merr.) varieties in Kenya: Impact of phosphorus and lime fertilization in two contrasting sites. Plant and Soil. 2009;322:151–163.

Sanchez PA. Soil fertility and hunger in Africa. Science (Washington). 2002;295 (5562);209-2020.

Date R. Inoculated legumes in cropping systems of the tropics. Field Crops Research. 2000;65(2):123-136.

Chemining’wa GN, Muthomi J, Theuri S. Effect of rhizobia inoculation and starter-N on nodulation, shoot biomass and yield of grain legumes. Asian Journal of Plant Sciences. 2007;6(7):1113-1118.

Mburu M, Okalebo J, Lesucur D, Pypers P, Ng’etich W, Mutegi E, Mutua S, Majengo C, Njoroge R, Nekesa O. Evaluation of biological commercial inoculants on soybean production in Bungoma County, Kenya. In African Crop Science Conference Proceedings. 2011;10(2):605-661.

McWilliams DA, Berglund DR, Endres GJ. Soybean growth and development quick guide. North Dakota State University; University of Minnesota. Reviewed and Reprinted August. 2004;5(20):1-5.

Olivera RV, Tilburg MF, Van Santos RQ, Moreno FB, Monteiro-moreira ACO, Moura A. Effects of cashew nut meal on ram sperm proteins. Acta vet. Bras. 2004;8 (l.2):264-247.

Zin Z, ulkifli H, Tarmizi AM, Hama-dan AB, Khalid H, Raja ZRO. Rock phosphate fertilizers recommended for young oil pam planted on inland soils. MPOB Information Series. 2005;16(2):511-7871.