Water deficit is one of the most severe abiotic stresses threatening crop growth and production on the globe. Water stress causes a series of morphological, biochemical, physiological, and molecular alterations that negatively influence plant productivity. However, in nature, plants are often associated with microbes that can modulate plant responses to water scarcity. Among beneficial microbes, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are one of the most widespread symbiotic fungi colonizing the majority of agricultural plants. Besides an enhancement in plant nutrition, AMF have been reported to improve plant performance under water restrictions. In this chapter, we emphasize the benefits of AMF inoculation to crop production under water deficit based on related laboratory and field experiments. Variable outcomes and challenges of AMF application are also discussed for practical use in crop production under water scarcity.
Part of the book: Drought