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Re: [SANET-MG] Microbe management: application of mycorrhyzal fungi in sustainable agriculture
Hi Joel and Lawrence,
>> "Research shows that AMF functioning may be much more
>> complex than previously thought. Until we can elucidate
>> their functional variation, and classify it on a useful
>> taxonomic level, practical applications of AMF cannot move
That statement needs to be understood in the context of commercial
product development. After all we "use" AMF all the time by just
planting crops in the field. They are normal parts of most crop's
> A system that includes biomass production for mulching crop acreage
> plus notill drill into living mulch would be as radical as using
> symbiotic fungi as a standardized farming method. Setting aside
> acreage, in rotation, for growing hay crops for mulch or plowdown
> for augmenting soil organic matter would make a huge difference
> in controlling moisture loss while providing a more favorable
> environment for beneficial soil fungi.
Producing large amounts of biomass and leaving it in the field is good
for all kinds of organisms. WRT arbuscular mycorrhizae in particular,
several additional practices affect root colonization, tillage,
phosphorus, crop and weed species, fallow, and maybe fungicide use.
These fungi make networks of mycelia in the soil, and this is broken up
by tillage. The network comes back after a while even if it is broken
up. There is no clear distinction between beneficial and parasitic
AMF/plant relationships. The main benefit the crop gets from the
relationship is phosphorus. If you load the system with P, the crop
resists infection by AMF. It doesn't need the help. It is not like
the roots and fungi are down there singing Kumbaya.
Crops in the mustard family (canola, cabbage, etc) don't form
associations with AMF. When you follow these crops (or fallow),
establishing a strong crop/AMF association takes longer. Of course, if
the cruciferous crop or fallow is weedy, there will be a stronger AMF
presence for the following crop.
Effect of fungicides on AMF is a big subject because there are
different AMF species and many, many different fungicides that differ
in persistence and toxicity to AMF. From what I have been able to
glean from searching the web, it takes high rates of fungicides to hurt
AMF. Some fungicides do not hurt AMF even at very high rates.
Fumigation with a biocide like Vapam would, of course, knock it way
Here are a few links that I found on mycorrhizae. The first has
particularly beautiful pictures.
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