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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2022, Vol. 21 Issue (3): 855-861    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(21)63628-6
Special Issue: 农业生态环境-土壤微生物合辑Agro-ecosystem & Environment—Soil microbe
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The ciliate protozoan Colpoda cucullus can improve maize growth by transporting soil phosphates
ZHANG Wen-li, LIN Qi-mei, Li Gui-tong, ZHAO Xiao-rong
College of Land Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, P.R.China
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目前人们对原生动物转移磷酸盐和改善玉米生长的能力还知之甚少。本文旨在探讨Colpoda cucullus能否通过转移磷来提高玉米的磷素水平。在根箱的外室土壤中接种纤毛虫C.cucullus,并添加KH232PO4、磷矿粉(RP)、普钙(SP)或磷酸铵(AP),然后在内室种植玉米。结果表明,接种C.cucullus的玉米植株32P放射性显著高于对照。此外,接种C.cucullus后玉米干物质显著增加了25.07%,氮磷钾含量增加了1~36% (P<0.05)。接种纤毛虫后,根箱内室土壤速效磷也提高了30%以上(P<0.05)。由此推测,磷素可能由接种的C.cucullus从外室运输到内室,然后被玉米植株吸收。

Little is known regarding the ability of protozoans to transfer phosphates and improve maize growth.  The objective of this study was to determine whether Colpoda cucullus could improve the maize phosphorus (P) level by transferring phosphate.  In this three-compartment root box study, the soil in the outer compartment was inoculated with the common ciliate, C. cucullus, together with the addition of either KH232PO4, rock phosphate (RP), super phosphate (SP) or ammonium phosphate (AP), and then maize was grown in the inner compartment.  The results showed that the maize plants grown in the soil inoculated with C. cucullus had much higher 32P radioactivity than the control.  Colpoda cucullus inoculation resulted in significant increases in dry matter by up to 25.07%, and nitrogen (N), P and potassium (K) absorption by 1–36% (P<0.05).  Soil available P in the inner compartment of the root box was also enhanced by at least 30% due to the ciliate inoculation (P<0.05).  It was therefore suggested that phosphates might be transported from the outer to inner compartments by the inoculated C. cucullus and then absorbed by the maize plant. 
Keywords:  Colpoda cucullus       root box        32P        phosphate fertilizer        maize  
Received: 18 August 2020   Accepted: 12 January 2021
Fund: This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41877059).
About author:  ZHANG Wen-li, Tel: +86-10-62732502, E-mail:; Correspondence LIN Qi-mei, Tel: +86-10-62732502, E-mail:

Cite this article: 

ZHANG Wen-li, LIN Qi-mei, Li Gui-tong, ZHAO Xiao-rong. 2022. The ciliate protozoan Colpoda cucullus can improve maize growth by transporting soil phosphates. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 21(3): 855-861.

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