Producing nonmycorrhizal plants in the field is a challenge due to the ubiquitous distribution of arbuscular mycorrhizal [AM] fungi and impacts of chemical treatments upon nontarget organisms. A field plot was covered with ground cover fabric to prohibit plant growth and take advantage of the obligate symbiotic nature of AM fungi to selectively starve and remove them from the soil microbiological community. The decline in the AM fungus population was monitored through spore counts and most probable number bioassays. Response to inoculation experiments were conducted to contrast the response of Allium porrum L. to inoculation with in vitro produced spores of Glomus intraradices Schenck and Smith when plants were grown in the AM fungus-depleted soil vs. soil from an adjacent, cropped plot. Data indicated a strongly diminished, yet still viable population of AM fungi after 39 months of bare fallow. Plants grown in cropped soil showed no growth response nor increase in percentage root length colonized as a result of inoculation, while the response to inoculation of plants grown in the covered soil increased as the population of AM fungi declined below 1 propagule cm−3.

Read full article