Arsenic (As) in soils causes several detrimental effects, including death. Arsenic toxicity in soybean plants (Glycine max L.)
has been little studied. Arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) increase the tolerance of host plants to abiotic stress, like As. We investigated the effects of AM fungi on soybean grown in As-contaminated soils. A pot experiment was carried out in a glasshouse, at random with five replications. We applied three levels of As (0, 25, and 50 mg As kg−1
), inoculated and non-inoculated with the AM fungus Rhizophagus intraradices
(N.C. Schenck & G.S. Sm.) C. Walker & A. Schüßler. Plant parameters and mycorrhizal colonization were measured. Arsenic in the substrate, roots, and leaves was quantified. Arsenic negatively affected the AM percentage of spore germination and hyphal length. As also affected soybean plants negatively: an extreme treatment caused a reduction of more than 77.47% in aerial biomass, 68.19% in plant height, 78.35% in number of leaves, and 44.96% reduction in root length, and delayed the phenological evolution. Mycorrhizal inoculation improved all of these parameters, and decreased plant As accumulation (from 7.8 mg As kg−1
to 6.0 mg As kg−1
). AM inoculation showed potential to reduce As toxicity in contaminated areas. The AM fungi decreased As concentration in plants following different ways: dilution effect, less As intake by roots, and improving soybean tolerance to As.
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