Impact of an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus on the growth and nutrition of fifteen crop and pasture plant species

Binh T.T. Tran, Stephanie J. Watts-Williams, Timothy R. Cavagnaro

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36 Citations (Scopus)


The formation of arbuscular mycorrhizas (AM) can result in positive, neutral or negative responses in the growth and mineral nutrition of host plants, particularly that of P, Zn and other micronutrients. This study examined the growth and nutritional responses of 15 agriculturally important plant species, including cereals, legumes and vegetables, with and without inoculation with the AM fungus (AMF) Rhizophagus irregularis. Furthermore, we explored whether the responses differed between different functional groups of plants such as monocots and dicots, C3 and C4 plants, and N-fixing and non-N-fixing plants. We found that that mycorrhizal colonisation of roots, plant growth and plant nutrient responses differed between plant species. Among the species analysed, leek (Allium ampeloprasum L. var. porrum) was the most mycorrhiza-responsive, displaying the highest mycorrhizal colonisation and biomass response, and the greatest increases in most mineral nutrients. In other plant species, the concentration of P, Cu, Zn and S were generally enhanced by inoculation with AMF. Furthermore, ionomes differed more greatly between plant species than in response to inoculation with AMF. This research further improves our understanding of the responses of different and diverse plant species to the formation of AM in terms of growth and ionomics under standardised growth conditions. The results of this study may be used in further studies and to inform agricultural practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)732-742
Number of pages11
JournalFunctional Plant Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • food crops
  • growth response
  • ionomics
  • plant nutrition
  • Rhizophagus irregularis
  • yield


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