Role of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) in Ornamental Crops

Authors: *Shisa Ullas P1 , Pradeep Kumar Jatav2
1. Division of Floriculture and Landscaping, ICAR- IARI, New Delhi
2. Division of Vegetable science, ICAR- IARI, New Delhi
*Correspondence address: shisaullas@gmail.com


Due to large demand of flowers, cultivation of ornamental plants has received an impetus in the recent years. So, the enhancement of growth and flower production is desirable. Many new modern techniques, methods, strategies and plant associations have been put in to use to improve the quantity and quality of plant resources. Microbial populations are key component of soil plant system where they are immense in a network of interactions affecting plant development. Mycorrhizal evolution is hypothesized to have progressed from endophytic to balanced symbiotic associations where both partners are interdependent due to the exchange of limiting resources. About 80% of all terrestrial plant species are known to be forming this type of symbiosis. They play a role in shaping plant community structure by increasing the mineral supply to plants, improving water uptake and retention and thus drought tolerance.

The efficient utilization of AM fungal diversity is of crucial importance in sustainable plant production systems. Arbuscular mycorrhizas are the most common type of mycorrhiza and they are formed by a fungal group that occurs in most soils. AMF are primary biotic soil components, their scarcity can lead to a less efficient ecosystem functioning. The process of re-establishing the natural level of AMF richness can represent a valid alternative to conventional fertilization practices. The main strategy that can be adopted to achieve this goal is the direct re-introduction of AMF propagules (inoculum) in to a target soil. Symbiotic associations between AMF and plant roots are widespread in the natural environment and can provide a range of benefits to the host plant. These include improved yield, nutrition, enhanced resistance to soil-borne pests and disease, improved resistance to drought, tolerance of heavy metals, and better soil structure. AMF are also used as biofertilizers and bioprotectors for increasing crop production. The arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis benefits the growth and development of plants, among them, a variety of ornamental horticulture (floriculture) plants. AMF have been shown to benefit plants that suffer from stunted growth, including that stemming from abiotic stress. Many floriculture crops are grown in the semi-arid environment of the Mediterranean region, and therefore AMF application may be implemented in floriculture practices to significantly promote crop growth, yield, reduction in fertilizer use, healthy soil. AMF are not well exploited in the ornamental crops. They can be used as a possible biological tool which will help to reduce the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers and prevent the deterioration of soil.

References:

Azcon, C. Barea, J.M. (1997). Arbuscular mycorrhizas and biological control of soilborne plant pathogens-an overview of the mechanisms involved Mycorrhiza.6:457-464


Nowak, J. (2004). Effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and organic fertilization on growth, flowering, nutrient uptake, photosynthesis and transpiration of geranium (Pelargonium hortorum L. H. Bailey ‘Tango Orange’). Symbiosis 37: 259-266.


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