Communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in arable soils are not necessarily low in diversity.Mol Ecol. 2006 Jul; 15(8):2277-89.ME
Communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in five agricultural field sites of different management intensities were studied. Variable regions of the ribosomal RNA genes were used to detect and identify AMF directly within colonized roots. Roots from a continuous maize monoculture showed low AMF diversity, in agreement with previous reports on molecular diversity of AMF in agricultural soils. In contrast, a substantially higher diversity of AMF was found throughout the long term 'DOK' field experiment, where organic and conventional agricultural practices have been compared side by side since 1978. In this experiment, a 7-year crop rotation is performed under lower levels of inorganic fertilizer input and chemical pest control. These results are in good agreement with analyses of the spore community previously conducted in these field sites. In a third site, an organically managed leek field with soil of very high phosphate content reflecting the highly intensive conventional field history and intensive tillage, we detected a low-diversity community comparable to the maize monoculture. In addition to fungi from Glomus group A, which have previously been reported to dominate arable soils, we regularly found members of the genera Scutellospora, Paraglomus and Acaulospora. The genus Acaulospora was shown to occur more frequently early in the growing season, suggesting that the life history strategy of AMF may influence the active community at a given time. These data show that the diversity of AMF is not always low in arable soils. Furthermore, low-input agriculture involving crop rotation may provide better conditions to preserve AMF diversity, by preventing the selection for the few AMF taxa tolerating high nutrient levels.