Is plant performance limited by abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi? A meta-analysis of studies published between 1988 and 2003

Authors

  • Y. Lekberg,

    1. Department of Horticulture and Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
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  • R. T. Koide

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Horticulture and Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
      Author for correspondence: Roger T. Koide Tel: +1 814 8630710 Fax: +1 814 8636139 Email: rkoide@psu.edu
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Author for correspondence: Roger T. Koide Tel: +1 814 8630710 Fax: +1 814 8636139 Email: rkoide@psu.edu

Summary

  • • We conducted meta-analyses of 290 published field and glasshouse trials to determine the effects of various agricultural practices on mycorrhizal colonization in nonsterile soils, and the consequence of those effects on yield, biomass, and phosphorus (P) concentration.
  • • Mycorrhizal colonization was increased most by inoculation (29% increase), followed by shortened fallow (20%) and reduced soil disturbance (7%). The effect of crop rotation depended on whether the crop was mycorrhizal. Increased colonization resulted in a yield increase in the field of 23% across all management practices.
  • • Biomass at harvest and shoot P concentration in early season were increased by inoculation (57 and 33%, respectively) and shortened fallow (55 and 24%). Reduced disturbance increased shoot P concentration by 27%, but biomass was not significantly affected. Biomass was significantly reduced in 2% of all trials in which there was a significant increase in colonization.
  • • Irrespective of management practice, an increased mycorrhizal colonization was less likely to increase biomass if either soil P or indigenous inoculum potential was high.

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