, Volume 81, Issue 1-4, pp 343-351

Mycorrhizosphere interactions to improve plant fitness and soil quality

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Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are key components of soil microbiota and obviously interact with other microorganisms in the rhizosphere, i.e. the zone of influence of plant roots on microbial populations and other soil constituents. Mycorrhiza formation changes several aspects of plant physiology and some nutritional and physical properties of the rhizospheric soil. These effects modify the colonization patterns of the root or mycorrhizas (mycorrhizosphere) by soil microorganisms. The rhizosphere of mycorrhizal plants, in practice a mycorrhizosphere, harbors a great array of microbial activities responsible for several key ecosystem processes. This paper summarizes the main conceptual principles and accepted statements on the microbial interactions between mycorrhizal fungi and other members of rhizosphere microbiota and discusses current developments and future trends concerning the following topics: (i) effect of soil microorganisms on mycorrhiza formation; (ii) mycorrhizosphere establishment; (iii) interactions involved in nutrient cycling and plant growth; (iv) interactions involved in the biological control of plant pathogens; and (v) interactions to improve soil quality. The main conclusion is that microbial interactions in the rhizosphere of mycorrhizal plants improve plant fitness and soil quality, critical issues for a sustainable agricultural development and ecosystem functioning.

This revised version was published online in August 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.