, Volume 76, Issue 1-3, pp 115-124

Effect of liming on spore germination, germ tube growth and root colonization by vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

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The effect of soil acidity on spore germination, germ tube growth and root colonization of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungi was examined using a Florida Ultisol. Soil samples were treated with 0, 4, 8 and 12 meq Ca/MgCO3/100 g soil and each lime level received 0, 240, and 720 ppm P as superphosphate. Corn (Zea mays L.) was planted in the soil treatments, inoculated with eitherGlomus mosseae orGigaspora margarita spores and grown for 31 days. Acid soil inhibits mycorrhizal formation byG. mosseae through its strong fungistatic effect against the spores. The dolomitic lime increased mycorrhizal formation by both fungal species.G. margarita is much less sensitive to acidic conditions thanG. mosseae. Al ions are a very important component of the fungistatic property against the VAM symbiosis. VAM fungus adaptation may be important for plants growing on infertile acid soils if soil inoculation with these fungi is to contribute significantly to low-input technology for tropical agricultural systems.