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Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhiza Articles

Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) constitute a group of root obligate biotrophs that exchange mutual benefits with about 80% of plants. They are considered natural biofertilizers, since they provide the host with water, nutrients, and pathogen protection, in exchange for photosynthetic products. Thus, AMF is the primary biotic soil component that, when missing or impoverished, can lead to a less efficient ecosystem functioning. The process of re-establishing the natural level of AMF richness can represent a valid alternative to conventional fertilization practices, with a view to sustainable agriculture. The main strategy that can be adopted to achieve this goal is the direct re-introduction of AMF propagules (inoculum) into a target soil. Originally, AMF were described to generally lack host- and niche-specificity, and therefore suggested as agriculturally suitable for a wide range of plants and environmental conditions. Unfortunately, the assumptions that have been made and the results that have been obtained so far are often worlds apart. The problem is that success is unpredictable since different plant species vary their response to the same AMF species mix. Many factors can affect the success of inoculation and AMF persistence in soil, including species compatibility with the target environment, the degree of spatial competition with other soil organisms in the target niche, and the timing of inoculation.

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