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Horticulturae 2017, 3(1), 8; doi:10.3390/horticulturae3010008

The Application of Mycorrhizal Fungi and Organic Fertilisers in Horticultural Potting Soils to Improve Water Use Efficiency of Crops

1
Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF), Müncheberg 15374, Germany
2
AgResearch Ltd., Christchurch 8140, New Zealand
3
Grasslanz Technology Ltd., Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Varit Srilaong, Mantana Buanong, Chalermchai Wongs-Aree, Sirichai Kanlayanarat and Douglas D. Archbold
Received: 2 December 2015 / Revised: 15 July 2016 / Accepted: 19 July 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality Management of Organic Horticultural Produce)
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Abstract

In recent years, the addition of microorganisms such as Plant Growth-Promoting Bacteria (PGPB) and mycorrhiza are becoming more popular, both in research as well as in practical use. While inoculants are usually not necessary for plants cultivated outdoors on biologically active soil, they can be useful on sterile substrates, newly created artificial landscapes, and also in soils that have been managed using non-selective sterilization methods, such as fumigation. In a multi-year lysimeter experiment, we investigated the influence of a commercial mycorrhizal inoculum on water use efficiency and biomass production of maize (Zea mays), sunflower (Helianthus annuus), sweet clover (Melilotus officinalis), sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor), cup-plant (Silphium perfoliatum) and tall wheatgrass (Elymus elongatus subsp. ponticus cv. Szarvasi-1) when exposed to high or low ground-water levels. Results showed that all plants benefited from the mycorrhizal association. Mycorrhizal-inoculated plants were more successful in terms of dry matter production and water use than the non-mycorrhizal plants. The source of the mycorrhiza—autochthonous or introduced—made no significant difference. The results indicate that inoculation with mycorrhiza and promotion of the naturally abundant mycorrhiza in agricultural production systems can significantly contribute to a sustainable production of crops. Effects depended on plant species, cultivar, soil type, ground-water level and the mycotrophy of the individual crop species. View Full-Text
Keywords: water use efficiency; mycorrhizal fungi; mycotrophy; multi-year lysimeter experiment; sustainable and resource conserving management; horticultural substrates; growing media water use efficiency; mycorrhizal fungi; mycotrophy; multi-year lysimeter experiment; sustainable and resource conserving management; horticultural substrates; growing media
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Eulenstein, F.; Tauschke, M.; Behrendt, A.; Monk, J.; Schindler, U.; Lana, M.A.; Monk, S. The Application of Mycorrhizal Fungi and Organic Fertilisers in Horticultural Potting Soils to Improve Water Use Efficiency of Crops. Horticulturae 2017, 3, 8.

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