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Local diversity of native arbuscular mycorrhizal symbionts differentially affects growth and nutrition of three crop plant species

Abstract

Intact whole native AMF communities occurring across a 100-m-long field were used for the evaluation of plant performance, as determined by the actual fungal species colonizing host roots. The soil from distinct plots within a “hot spot” field was collected to set up 54 experimental units where three different plant species were grown, in order to test whether the whole native AMF communities were able to differentially affect plant growth, to assess the genetic identity of the AMF actually colonizing the tested plants and to analyse their community composition in the different hosts. Molecular analyses revealed that plant growth and nutrition of the crop plants were differentially affected by the diverse native arbuscular mycorrhizal communities colonizing the roots of the three plants, whose performance varied depending on the identity of plant hosts and fungal symbionts, more than on a rich and diversified AMF community. Such results, improving our understanding of AMF distribution at the local scale, represent a starting point allowing the selection, isolation and characterization of the most efficient AMF assemblages to be used as inoculants in sustainable food production systems.

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Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the University of Pisa through the project “Molecular and functional biodiversity of plant associated microrganisms” and through Fondi di Ateneo and by the National Research Council of Italy. The authors wish to thank Prof. Marco Mazzoncini and Dr. Rosalba Risaliti for their precious help in preserving the field site and determining soil physical and chemical properties.

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Turrini, A., Bedini, A., Loor, M.B. et al. Local diversity of native arbuscular mycorrhizal symbionts differentially affects growth and nutrition of three crop plant species. Biol Fertil Soils 54, 203–217 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-017-1254-5

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Keywords

  • Root AMF communities
  • Small-scale AMF diversity
  • Small ribosomal subunit (SSU rDNA)
  • Plant performance
  • Functional diversity