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Title: Impact of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on maize physiology and biochemical response under variable nitrogen levels

item CRESPO, ROBERTO - University Of Nebraska
item LORENZ, AARON - University Of Nebraska
item AWADA, TALA - University Of Nebraska
item ARKEBAUER, TIMOTHY - University Of Nebraska
item Wienhold, Brian
item DRIJBER, RHAE - University Of Nebraska

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/4/2013
Publication Date: 11/4/2013
Citation: Crespo, R.J., Lorenz, A., Awada, T., Arkebauer, T., Wienhold, B.J., Drijber, R. 2013. Impact of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on maize physiology and biochemical response under variable nitrogen levels. ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts. CDROM. Poster No. 1725.

Interpretive Summary: Most plant, including crops, have beneficial fungi (arbuscular mycorrhizal, AM) associated with their root systems. As breeding programs have improved crop yields the role of these AM fungi has become unclear. This study measured the response of corn grown under four different nitrogen levels either with or without AM fungi. The number of leaves, plant height, and leaf greenness were measured weekly between the third and seventh week. After the seventh week the plants were harvested and aboveground biomass and roots were weighed. Findings will improve our understanding of AM fungi in crop production and will be used to design other experiments determining the role of AM fungi in crop response to water stress.

Technical Abstract: Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are known for colonizing plant roots, transporting water and nutrients from the soil to the plant. Therefore, environmental conditions set mainly by soil water and nutrient levels are important determinants of AM function and host plant response. Mechanisms of nitrogen (N) uptake, translocation and transfer to the host plant by AM fungi are only partially understood for a few select host plants. This is due mainly to the AM/plant symbiosis being dependent on experimental conditions and host species, in addition to complex interactions between N and other nutrients. The objectives of this study were to study the physiological impact of AM fungi on maize grown under different N levels. A greenhouse experiment was conducted to study the effect of four N doses (0, 1.5, 7.5 and 15 mM NO3-) on the response of AM-inoculated and non-inoculated maize plants. AM inoculum was a mixture of four AM fungal species (Glomus deserticola, Glomus intraradices, Glomus mosseae and Gigaspora gigantean). The experiment was arranged in a randomized complete design with 4 repetitions. The number of leaves, plant height and chlorophyll content were recorded weekly between the third and seventh week after planting (WAP). Fresh biomass of shoots and roots were recorded at 7 WAP. N and P contents in fresh and dry shoot biomass were measured. Results from this study will provide much needed information for future experiments on drought response of conventional and drought tolerant maize hybrids. Improved understanding of this important symbiosis under future climate change could potentially lead to more sustainable farming practices and increased primary food production.