Regular Article

Plant and Soil

, Volume 326, Issue 1, pp 3-20

Plant performance in stressful environments: interpreting new and established knowledge of the roles of arbuscular mycorrhizas

  • Sally E. SmithAffiliated withSchool of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide Email author 
  • , Evelina FacelliAffiliated withSchool of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide
  • , Suzanne PopeAffiliated withSchool of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of AdelaideSchool of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide
  • , F. Andrew SmithAffiliated withSchool of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbioses are formed by approximately 80% of vascular plant species in all major terrestrial biomes. In consequence an understanding of their functions is critical in any study of sustainable agricultural or natural ecosystems. Here we discuss the implications of recent results and ideas on AM symbioses that are likely to be of particular significance for plants dealing with abiotic stresses such as nutrient deficiency and especially water stress. In order to ensure balanced coverage, we also include brief consideration of the ways in which AM fungi may influence soil structure, carbon deposition in soil and interactions with the soil microbial and animal populations, as well as plant-plant competition. These interlinked outcomes of AM symbioses go well beyond effects in increasing nutrient uptake that are commonly discussed and all require to be taken into consideration in future work designed to understand the complex and multifaceted responses of plants to abiotic and biotic stresses in agricultural and natural environments.

Keywords

Arbuscular mycorrhizas Nutrient uptake Water relations Soil structure Plant competition Carbon deposition in soil Soil microorganisms