Interactions between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria and their potential for stimulating plant growth


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Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and bacteria can interact synergistically to stimulate plant growth through a range of mechanisms that include improved nutrient acquisition and inhibition of fungal plant pathogens. These interactions may be of crucial importance within sustainable, low-input agricultural cropping systems that rely on biological processes rather than agrochemicals to maintain soil fertility and plant health. Although there are many studies concerning interactions between AM fungi and bacteria, the underlying mechanisms behind these associations are in general not very well understood, and their functional properties still require further experimental confirmation. Future mycorrhizal research should therefore strive towards an improved understanding of the functional mechanisms behind such microbial interactions, so that optimized combinations of microorganisms can be applied as effective inoculants within sustainable crop production systems. In this context, the present article seeks to review and discuss the current knowledge concerning interactions between AM fungi and plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria, the physical interactions between AM fungi and bacteria, enhancement of phosphorus and nitrogen bioavailability through such interactions, and finally the associations between AM fungi and their bacterial endosymbionts. Overall, this review summarizes what is known to date within the present field, and attempts to identify promising lines of future research.