, Volume 317, Issue 1-2, pp 257-266
Date: 01 Nov 2008

Influence of commercial inoculation with Glomus intraradices on the structure and functioning of an AM fungal community from an agricultural site

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The use of commercial arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) inoculants is growing. However, we know little about how resident AM communities respond to inoculations under different soil management conditions. The objective of this study was to simulate the application of a commercial AM fungal inoculant of Glomus intraradices to soil to determine whether the structure and functioning of that soil’s resident AM community would be affected. The effects of inoculation were investigated over time under disturbed or undisturbed soil conditions. We predicted that the introduction of an infective AM fungus, such as G. intraradices, would have greater consequences in disturbed soil. Using a combination of molecular (terminal restriction length polymorphism analysis based on the large subunit of the rRNA gene) and classical methods (AM fungal root colonization and P nutrition) we found that, contrary to our prediction, adding inoculant to soil containing a resident AM fungal community does not necessarily have an impact on the structure of that community either under disturbed or undisturbed conditions. However, we found evidence of positive effects of inoculation on plant nutrition under disturbed conditions, suggesting that the inoculant interacted, directly or indirectly, with the resident AM fungi. The inoculant significantly improved the P content of the host but only in presence of the resident AM fungal community. In contrast to inoculation, soil disturbance had a significant negative impact on species richness of AM fungi and influenced the AM fungal community composition as well as its functioning. Thus, we conclude that soil disturbance may under certain conditions have greater consequences for the structure of resident AM fungal communities in agricultural soils than commercial AM fungal inoculations with G. intraradices.

Responsible Editor: F. Andrew Smith.