Autumn-sown wheat (Triticum aestivum) was studied over two seasons in south-eastern Australia, on a low-P soil where indigenous arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) were known to provide little nutritional benefit to crops. It was hypothesised that AMF would be parasitic under these circumstances. Shoot dry mass and water soluble carbohydrate (WSC) reserves in roots and shoots were measured for wheat grown with or without P-fertiliser, in plots where crop sequences had produced either high or low colonisation by AMF. Application of P-fertiliser greatly increased crop growth and decreased colonisation by AMF. At tillering, colonisation by AMF ranged from 24 to 66% of root length when no P was applied and from 11 to 32% when P was applied. At each P-level, high colonisation correlated with reductions of around 20% in stem and root WSC concentrations (first season) or shoot WSC content and shoot dry mass (much drier second season). Impacts on yield were not significant (first season) or largely masked by water-stress and frost (second season). While the major fungal root diseases of the region were absent, interactions between crop sequence and other unknown biotic constraints could not be discounted. The results are consistent with the parasitic impacts of colonisation by AMF being induced primarily through the winter conditions experienced by the crops until anthesis. It is concluded that wheat in south-eastern Australia may benefit from reduced colonisation by AMF, which could achieved through selected crop sequences or, perhaps, targeted wheat breeding programs.
Ryan, M., Herwaarden, A. F., Angus, J. F., & Kirkegaard, J. A. (2005). Reduced growth of autumn-sown wheat in a low-P soil is associated with high colonisation by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Plant and Soil, 270(1), 275-286. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-004-1611-7