The 20thcentury witnessed an augmentation in agricultural production, mainly through the progress and use of pesticides, fertilizers containing nitrogen and phosphorus, and developments in plant breeding and genetic skills. In the naturally existing ecology, rhizospheric soils have innumerable biological living beings to favor the plant development, nutrient assimilation, stress tolerance, disease deterrence, carbon seizing and others. These organisms include mycorrhizal fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes, etc. which solubilize nutrients and assist the plants in up taking by roots. Amongst them, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi have key importance in natural ecosystem, but high rate of chemical fertilizer in agricultural fields is diminishing its importance. The majority of the terrestrial plants form association with Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (VAM) or Arbuscular Mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). This symbiosis confers benefits directly to the host plant’s growth and development through the acquisition of Phosphorus (P) and other mineral nutrients from the soil by the AMF. They may also enhance the protection of plants against pathogens and increases the plant diversity. This is achieved by the growth of AMF mycelium within the host root (intra radical) and out into the soil (extra radical) beyond. Proper management of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal fungi has the potential to improve the profitability and sustainability of agricultural systems. AM fungi are especially important for sustainable farming systems because AM fungi are efficient when nutrient availability is low and when nutrients are bound to organic matter and soil particles.
Part of the book: Nitrogen in Agriculture