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The role of inoculum identity in drought stress mitigation by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in soybean

Abstract

It is well known that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) effects on plant growth largely depend on fungus identity. The objective of this study was to test whether three individual AMF isolates and their mixture mitigate drought stress (DS) differentially in soybean (Glycine max) genotype, predicting that under DS, the mixture of the AMF isolates would provide greater benefits to soybean plants than individual ones. In a greenhouse experiment, a drought-susceptible soybean genotype was inoculated with Septoglomus constrictum, Glomus sp., and Glomus aggregatum, known to be among the most abundant in agricultural and natural soils from central Argentina, and their mixture (Mx). Whereas under well-watered (WW) conditions, individual isolates and Mx treatment were similarly infective; under DS conditions, the Mx treatment showed lower rates of root colonization. Between WW and DS conditions, biomass was decreased in all treatments, although this effect was more marked in non-AM plants. Moreover, AMF strains improved water content and P and N concentrations. Under DS, the Mx treatment was unable to exceed the highest contents that were recorded by AMF isolates. However, under WW conditions, the Mx treatment showed a higher N content than individual isolates. Under both watering conditions, AM plants reduced oxidative damage evaluated as malondiadehyde and chlorophyll content and keep constant osmotic metabolites such as soluble sugars and proline content, without significant differences between AMF isolates and the Mx treatment. These results show that AMF play an important role in mitigating drought impacts on soybean, but that mixtures of AMF isolates did not perform as well as the best single strain inoculum, excluding complementarity effects and suggesting selection effect of AMF on DS alleviation in soybean.

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Acknowledgments

This work was funded by the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) through a PIP-CONICET 2010–2012 -112 200901 00157 and doctoral fellowship awarded to B.C. Grümberg, and by the National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA): PE PNCER 022472 and PE AERN 295582 . CU wishes to acknowledge the assistance of CONICET and the Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, both of which have provided facilities for this study. CU also acknowledges the support of Secyt and Agencia Córdoba Ciencia.

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Correspondence to Celina M. Luna.

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Grümberg, B.C., Urcelay, C., Shroeder, M.A. et al. The role of inoculum identity in drought stress mitigation by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in soybean. Biol Fertil Soils 51, 1–10 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-014-0942-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-014-0942-7

Keywords

  • Drought tolerance
  • Oxidative stress
  • Glycine max
  • Glomeromycota mixed inocula