Submitted to: Mycorrhiza
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/25/2022
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Here we present quantitative PCR detection assays for 11 different species of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi found in agricultural soils. These assays enable the determination of the abundance of the fungal DNA directly from soil samples and in plant root tissues. Molecular methods for AM fungi have been challenging to develop, and the new assays presented here offer the advantage that they are modular and can be combined into multiplexes of up to four in a single reaction. These tools will help to improve agricultural sustainability by guiding the selection of species of AM fungi for propagation and development as AMF biofertilizers – products that improve nutrient acquisition and water uptake, and reduce susceptibility to pathogens and disease.
Technical Abstract: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are symbionts of plants that scavenge nutrients and water from the soil. Previous studies have shown that AMF inoculants increase yield by up to 15% for a variety of crops, including strawberries, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and leeks. Additionally, utilization of AMF inoculants has the potential to improve agricultural sustainability by reducing the chemical inputs needed for crop production. We present here multiplex real-time PCR assays for independently detecting and measuring the abundance of 11 different species of AMF commonly found in agricultural soils. These assays enable the detection and quantification of colonization by each targeted species in DNA extracts from root tissue as well as from soil, which are significant advancements over classical morphological classification and molecular analysis of spores isolated from soil samples. The availability of these tools will help to characterize and select species of AMF that provide the most benefits to crops and to develop these organisms into biofertilizers.