Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 12, 2011
Publication Date: March 16, 2011
Citation: Douds, D.D., Lee, J., Rogers, L. 2011. On-farm production and utilization of arbusclar mycorrhizal fungus inoculum. Meeting Abstract. 1:1. Technical Abstract: Arbuscular mycorrhizal [AM] fungi are naturally occuring soil fungi that form a mutualistic symbiosis with the majority of crop plants. Among the benefits to the plant that are accredited to living in this symbiosis are: increased mineral nutrient uptake, drought resistance, and disease resistance. The AM fungus also supplies "ecosystem services" such as enhancing the stability of soil aggregates. These benefits make the optimal utilization of the symbiosis a potentially important part of agricultural systems that minimize or eliminate synthetic chemical inputs, such as organic agriculture. Our objective has been to develop technology for the on-farm production of inoculum of AM fungi that is effective, economical, and easy to use. We have developed a method for the on-farm production of AM fungus inoculum in temperate climates. Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge) seedlings, colonized by AM fungi, are transplanted into black plastic bags containing a mixture of compost and vermiculite. The plants are tended over the growing season and the AM fungi proliferate as roots spread throughout the compost and vermiculite mixture. Frost then kills bahiagrass. The AM fungi naturally over winter in the media and the inocula are ready for use the following spring. This system has successfully propagated all AM fungi tested and produced hundreds of propagules CM-3 in a 1:4 [v/v] mixture of yard clippings compost and vermiculite. This technology especially can be used by vegetable farmers who produce their own seedlings for outplanting. Another group of farms that may be interested in this technology is labor intensive small organic or Community Supported Agriculture operations.