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Effects of different management practices on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal diversity in maize fields by a molecular approach

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Abstract

As obligate mutualistic symbionts, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) colonize the roots of many agricultural crops, and it is often claimed that agricultural practices are detrimental to AMF. As a result, agroecosystems impoverished in AMF may not get the fully expected range of benefits from these fungi. Using molecular markers on DNA extracted directly from soil and roots, we studied the effects of different management practices (tillage and N fertilization) on the AMF communities colonizing an experimental maize field in Central Italy. Our molecular analysis based on three different nuclear rRNA regions (18S, 28S and ITS) allowed us to assess AMF biodiversity. Glomeraceae members were the main colonizer, and they co-occurred with Gigasporaceae and Paraglomus regardless of the management practices applied. Diversisporaceae and Entrophosporaceae members were instead detected in the N-fertilized soils and in the untreated soil, respectively. The results obtained indicated that the general AMF assemblages structure and composition in the maize field plots appear to be primarily influenced by N fertilization and, to a lesser extent, by tillage. This study also validates the usefulness of multiple molecular markers to consolidate and refine the assessment of the environmental AMF diversity.

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Note added in proof

The authors would like to indicate that since the submission of this paper, Krüger M, et al (2012) New Phytologist 193:970–984, in March 2012, reported an extensive molecular phylogeny of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) commented on the same issue by P. Young (2012) New Phytologist 193:823–826.

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank P.P. Roggero and his team for their contribution to the collection of the soils in the frame of the Italian National Project SOILSINK (FISR). Thanks are also due to A. Berruti for his help in the root analysis, to S. Ghignone for his help in the sequence submission process and to R. Farina for her helpful comments. The P.B. research was funded by the SOILSINK Project (FISR). V.B.’s research was funded by IPP-CNR (Biodiversity Projects–Torino) and the ENDURE project (European Network of Excellence). R.B. was supported by SOILSINK Project grants. We are grateful to the anonymous referees and to the editor for their helpful comments.

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Correspondence to Valeria Bianciotto.

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Roberto Borriello and Erica Lumini contributed equally to the work.

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Borriello, R., Lumini, E., Girlanda, M. et al. Effects of different management practices on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal diversity in maize fields by a molecular approach. Biol Fertil Soils 48, 911–922 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-012-0683-4

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