Submitted to: Biological Agriculture and Horticulture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/3/2002
Publication Date: 5/13/2003
Citation: DOUDS, D.D., REIDER, C. INOCULATION WITH MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI INREASES TEH YIELD OF GREEN PEPPERS IN A HIGH P SOIL. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture. v. 21. p. 91-102. 2003. Interpretive Summary: Mycorrhizal fungi are beneficial soil fungi that enhance the growth of plants in a number of ways. The primary way in which they increase growth of crop plants is assisting in nutrient uptake from the soil. Therefore, better utilization of these fungi by farmers and nurserymen can allow them to use less fertilizer, resulting in cash savings and benefits to the environment. We conducted a three year experiment in which seedlings of green peppers were exposed to two types of these fungi prior to transplanting to the experimental farm. At the end of the summer, we counted, measured, and weighed the peppers. One type of the fungi significantly increased the yield of peppers over those plants that did not receive any fungi each year of the experiment. The other type of fungus increased yield in only one year. These results shot that with proper selection of mycorrhizal fungi, farmers can preinoculate their pepper seedlings and increase their yields.
Technical Abstract: Arbuscular mycorrhizal [AM] fungi are mutualistic symbionts that impart a number of benefits to host plants, any one of which can make them important contributors to productivity of alternative agricultural systems. Inoculation of vegetable seedlings prior to outplanting is economically feasible. We imposed one of three inoculation treatments upon Capsicum annuum L. cv Camelot seedlings: 1) Glomus intraradices, 2) a mixed inoculum of Glomus mosseae, Glomus etunicatum, and Gigaspora rosea, and 3) uninoculated controls. Plants were transplanted into high P soil field plots that received either composted dairy cow manure or conventional chemical fertilizer. There were no significant differences in yield between nutrient amendments, but inoculation with AM fungi significantly affected fruit yield. The mixed inocula increased yields relative to controls by 14 to 23% in plots amended with compost and 34% one year with chemical fertilizers. Glomus intraradices depressed seedling growth relative to controls and decreased yields one of two years. Inoculation with AM fungi is a management option that should not be ignored in high P soils, but proper selection of inoculum is essential.