Little evidence that farmers should consider abundance or diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi when managing crops

Megan H. Ryan, James H. Graham

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

31 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

(Table presented.). Summary: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are ubiquitous in agroecosystems and often stated to be critical for crop yield and agroecosystem sustainability. However, should farmers modify management to enhance the abundance and diversity of AMF? We address this question with a focus on field experiments that manipulated colonisation by indigenous AMF and report crop yield, or investigated community structure and diversity of AMF. We find that the literature presents an overly optimistic view of the importance of AMF in crop yield due, in part, to flawed methodology in field experiments. A small body of rigorous research only sometimes reports a positive impact of high colonisation on crop yield, even under phosphorus limitation. We suggest that studies vary due to the interaction of environment and genotype (crop and mycorrhizal fungal). We also find that the literature can be overly pessimistic about the impact of some common agricultural practices on mycorrhizal fungal communities and that interactions between AMF and soil microbes are complex and poorly understood. We provide a template for future field experiments and a list of research priorities, including phosphorus-efficient agroecosystems. However, we conclude that management of AMF by farmers will not be warranted until benefits are demonstrated at the field scale under prescribed agronomic management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1092-1107
Number of pages16
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume220
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

Fingerprint

mycorrhizal fungi
Fungi
farmers
crops
crop yield
agroecosystems
Phosphorus
phosphorus
fungal communities
Farmers
soil microorganisms
Research
community structure
Soil
Genotype
genotype

Cite this

@article{3978b2b717144f22a6d1b805339ad05a,
title = "Little evidence that farmers should consider abundance or diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi when managing crops",
abstract = "(Table presented.). Summary: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are ubiquitous in agroecosystems and often stated to be critical for crop yield and agroecosystem sustainability. However, should farmers modify management to enhance the abundance and diversity of AMF? We address this question with a focus on field experiments that manipulated colonisation by indigenous AMF and report crop yield, or investigated community structure and diversity of AMF. We find that the literature presents an overly optimistic view of the importance of AMF in crop yield due, in part, to flawed methodology in field experiments. A small body of rigorous research only sometimes reports a positive impact of high colonisation on crop yield, even under phosphorus limitation. We suggest that studies vary due to the interaction of environment and genotype (crop and mycorrhizal fungal). We also find that the literature can be overly pessimistic about the impact of some common agricultural practices on mycorrhizal fungal communities and that interactions between AMF and soil microbes are complex and poorly understood. We provide a template for future field experiments and a list of research priorities, including phosphorus-efficient agroecosystems. However, we conclude that management of AMF by farmers will not be warranted until benefits are demonstrated at the field scale under prescribed agronomic management.",
keywords = "agronomy, crop sequences, experimental methodology, phosphorus-efficient agroecosystems, soil microbes, trade-balance model, yield",
author = "Ryan, {Megan H.} and Graham, {James H.}",
year = "2018",
month = "12",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1111/nph.15308",
language = "English",
volume = "220",
pages = "1092--1107",
journal = "The New Phytologist",
issn = "0028-646X",
publisher = "John Wiley & Sons",
number = "4",

}

Little evidence that farmers should consider abundance or diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi when managing crops. / Ryan, Megan H.; Graham, James H.

In: New Phytologist, Vol. 220, No. 4, 01.12.2018, p. 1092-1107.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

TY - JOUR

T1 - Little evidence that farmers should consider abundance or diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi when managing crops

AU - Ryan, Megan H.

AU - Graham, James H.

PY - 2018/12/1

Y1 - 2018/12/1

N2 - (Table presented.). Summary: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are ubiquitous in agroecosystems and often stated to be critical for crop yield and agroecosystem sustainability. However, should farmers modify management to enhance the abundance and diversity of AMF? We address this question with a focus on field experiments that manipulated colonisation by indigenous AMF and report crop yield, or investigated community structure and diversity of AMF. We find that the literature presents an overly optimistic view of the importance of AMF in crop yield due, in part, to flawed methodology in field experiments. A small body of rigorous research only sometimes reports a positive impact of high colonisation on crop yield, even under phosphorus limitation. We suggest that studies vary due to the interaction of environment and genotype (crop and mycorrhizal fungal). We also find that the literature can be overly pessimistic about the impact of some common agricultural practices on mycorrhizal fungal communities and that interactions between AMF and soil microbes are complex and poorly understood. We provide a template for future field experiments and a list of research priorities, including phosphorus-efficient agroecosystems. However, we conclude that management of AMF by farmers will not be warranted until benefits are demonstrated at the field scale under prescribed agronomic management.

AB - (Table presented.). Summary: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are ubiquitous in agroecosystems and often stated to be critical for crop yield and agroecosystem sustainability. However, should farmers modify management to enhance the abundance and diversity of AMF? We address this question with a focus on field experiments that manipulated colonisation by indigenous AMF and report crop yield, or investigated community structure and diversity of AMF. We find that the literature presents an overly optimistic view of the importance of AMF in crop yield due, in part, to flawed methodology in field experiments. A small body of rigorous research only sometimes reports a positive impact of high colonisation on crop yield, even under phosphorus limitation. We suggest that studies vary due to the interaction of environment and genotype (crop and mycorrhizal fungal). We also find that the literature can be overly pessimistic about the impact of some common agricultural practices on mycorrhizal fungal communities and that interactions between AMF and soil microbes are complex and poorly understood. We provide a template for future field experiments and a list of research priorities, including phosphorus-efficient agroecosystems. However, we conclude that management of AMF by farmers will not be warranted until benefits are demonstrated at the field scale under prescribed agronomic management.

KW - agronomy

KW - crop sequences

KW - experimental methodology

KW - phosphorus-efficient agroecosystems

KW - soil microbes

KW - trade-balance model

KW - yield

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85050689790&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/nph.15308

DO - 10.1111/nph.15308

M3 - Review article

VL - 220

SP - 1092

EP - 1107

JO - The New Phytologist

JF - The New Phytologist

SN - 0028-646X

IS - 4

ER -