Establishment and effectiveness of inoculated arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in agricultural soils.Plant Cell Environ. 2016 Jan; 39(1):136-46.PC
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are promoted as biofertilizers for sustainable agriculture. So far, most researchers have investigated the effects of AMF on plant growth under highly controlled conditions with sterilized soil, soil substrates or soils with low available P or low inoculum potential. However, it is still poorly documented whether inoculated AMF can successfully establish in field soils with native AMF communities and enhance plant growth. We inoculated grassland microcosms planted with a grass-clover mixture (Lolium multiflorum and Trifolium pratense) with the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Rhizoglomus irregulare. The microcosms were filled with eight different unsterilized field soils that varied greatly in soil type and chemical characteristics and indigenous AMF communities. We tested whether inoculation with AMF enhanced plant biomass and R. irregulare abundance using a species specific qPCR. Inoculation increased the abundance of R. irregulare in all soils, irrespective of soil P availability, the initial abundance of R. irregulare or the abundance of native AM fungal communities. AMF inoculation had no effect on the grass but significantly enhanced clover yield in five out of eight field soils. The results demonstrate that AMF inoculation can be successful, even when soil P availability is high and native AMF communities are abundant.