Prunus persica crop management differentially promotes arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi diversity in a tropical agro-ecosystem

Maria del Mar Alguacil, Emma Torrecillas, Zenaida Lozano, Maria Pilar Torres, Antonio Roldán
PloS One 2014, 9 (2): e88454
Due to the important role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in ecosystem functioning, determination of the effect of management practices on the AMF diversity in agricultural soils is essential for the sustainability of these agro-ecosystems. The objective of this study was to compare the AMF diversity in Prunus persica roots under two types of fertilisation (inorganic, with or without manure) combined with integrated or chemical pest management in a Venezuelan agro-ecosystem. The AM fungal small-subunit (SSU) rRNA genes were subjected to PCR, cloning, sequencing and phylogenetic analyses. Twenty-one different phylotypes were identified: 15 belonged to the genus Glomus, one to Claroideoglomus, two to Paraglomus, one to Acaulospora, one to Scutellospora and one to Archaeospora. The distribution of the AMF community composition differed as a consequence of the treatment effects. The treatment combining organic and inorganic fertilisation with chemical pest control had the highest AMF richness and the treatment combining inorganic fertilisation with chemical pest had the lowest. The real causes and effects of these differences in the AMF community are very difficult to establish, since the crop management regimes tested were composed of several interacting factors. In conclusion, the crop management practices can exert a significant influence on the populations of AMF. The treatment combining organic and inorganic fertilisation with chemical pest control appears to be the most suitable agricultural management strategy with respect to improving the AMF diversity in this crop under tropical conditions, and thus for maintaining the agricultural and environmental sustainability of this agro-ecosystem.

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