The indigenous arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal colonisation potential in potato roots is affected by agricultural treatments
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There is an urgent need to develop novel approaches to enhance sustainable agriculture while not reducing cr op yields. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi establish symbiotic associations with most crop plants improving plant performance and soil health. This study investigated the extent of colonisation of potato roots by indigenous AM fungi in the arable soil under conventional and organic farming systems. Potato roots had greater AM fungal colonisation levels under organic than conventional farming, though in general, root colonisation levels were extremely low in both farming systems . Pota to root AM fungal colonisation was lower with higher soil P content and higher with higher annual C input. Trap plant root AM fungal colonisation was considerably higher than in field potato roots and showed that soil mycorrhizal inoculum potential was hig her in organic than in conventional farming. Thus, the positive impact of manure application in organic fields to the potato AM fungal colonisation can be explained by previous higher total annual C fresh organic matter input and lower soil P content under treatment. Furthermore, the natural AM fungal abundance in the soil was sufficient to colonise trap plant roots, suggesting a low mycorrhizal dependence of the studied potato cultivar.