Updated: Apr 20
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi basics Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are found to colonize the great majority of plants. This is especially fruitful for food production. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are obligate symbiots associating with plant roots or dying leaf litter.1`
Through this arrangement the plant and the Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus develop a mutually beneficial relationship, where the plant provides readily available sugars to the Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and the plant then uses the hyphae as its own roots extending its ability to acquire adequate nutrient levels. This increases plant health and fruit body yield. Soils that have been depleted over a long period of time are still capable of making a recovery.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) inoculum
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) spores, pieces of colonized ground debris, and hyphae are all used as inoculum to spread the Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) to nearby plants.
Efficiencies and increased harvests are a result of Farm management and particularly crop management that Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) has take into account. Often Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) will need to be added back into deplete soil in order to kick-start the bio-engine of your living soil's potential. (Douds and Reider 2003)
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) can be made at home added to the soil in a supplemental fashion and locally inoculated easily into the soil of every single seedling. Doing so will significantly reduce operating cost to farms in the area of supplements. It can and should be made locally, on the farm, with local Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) that is already tuned to the land where it will be used. Commercial Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) has imbedded expenses related to employee wages and cost of research (laboratory) space. (Douds 2010).
While beneficial in many ways for all farms and growing applications, the use of incubated endemic Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) inoculate offers particular yield and therefore profit margin gains for vegetable farmers who germinate their own seedlings prior to planting.
How to make Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) inoculum
This should all be done right around Mother's day or immediately after the last frost of Spring. Pick the correct Host Plant for Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) to thrive. The host plant should be a different plant than the crop that is going to eventually be inoculated. Paspalum notatum Flugge (bahia grass) makes an ideal host plant for the Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM).
Seedlings are planted into small (dark colored) plastic bags filled with local , living, Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) rich field soil. The Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) grow as the seedlings grow.
producing bahia grass seedlings with long vertical root balls will allow the deeper roots to contact propagules closer to the bottom of the bag more quickly than will shallow pot seedlings.
Use a 1:3 sterilized local soil to sand ratio in the long root ball seedling pots.
Transplant seedlings into a compost diluted by perlite vermiculite and sterilized soil with a small amount (up to 1/3 ) local field soil. It is best to use a multi-species inoculate including local isolates of Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) which establishes a paradigm producing a growth response between glomulin production and plant species.
Field soil should not come from an area where the crop to be inoculated has grown within the last 24 months. Additionally Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) is sporadic in its diverse growth nature. Therefore it is always best to collect several samples of field soil from several potentially viable locations on the property. Ideally this dilution will be moderate in potassium levels, high in Nitrogen and low in Phosphorus levels. (Douds et al., 2008)
Once grow bags are made and bahia grass planted water once a week and weed as necessary.
At the end of the season the naturally senescing plant will trigger sporulation of the Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) to wit the spawn will feed on the dying plant matter once it hits the ground. These new spores will over winter in the rich living soil and this soil will be perfect for the next growing season.
To harvest the new soil, pull out the dead root ball and shake it out. cut the roots into little bits and mix back into the soil. This can the be mixed with larger volumes of fresh media to inoculate the soil.
The Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) assists a plant in nutrient and mineral uptake and bolster drought tolerance and disease resistance. Mineral nutrients are , on their own, immovable in the soil. One of the greatest advantages of Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) to plants if the increased transportation and availability of these micronutrients.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) Hyphae extend up to 12 cm or more increasing the polkant's reach into the soil in order to extract these otherwise immobile nutrient's.
Figure 1. Production of Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) inoculum.
Douds, D. D., and C. Reider. 2003. Inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi increases the yield of green peppers in a high P soil. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture 21: 91–102.
Douds, Jr., D. D., G. Nagahashi, P. E. Pfeffer, W. M. Kayser, and C. Reider. 2005. On-farm production and utilization of mycorrhizal fungus inoculum. Canadian Journal of Plant Science 85: 15–21
Douds, Jr., D. D., G. Nagahashi, P. E. Pfeffer, C. Reider, and W. M. Kayser. 2006. On-farm production of AM fungus inoculum in mixtures of compost and vermiculite. Bioresource Technology 97: 809–818.
Douds, D. D., G. Nagahashi, C. Reider, and P. Hepperly. 2008. Choosing a mixture ratio for the on-farm production of AM fungus inoculum in mixtures of compost and vermiculite. Compost Science and Utilization 16: 52–60.
Douds, D. D., G. Nagahashi, J. E. Shenk, and K. Demchack. 2008. Inoculation of strawberries with AM fungi produced on-farm increased yield. Biological Agriculture and Horticulture 26: 209–219.
Douds, D. D., G. Nagahashi, and P. R. Hepperly. 2010. On-farm production of inoculum of indigenous arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and assessment of diluents of compost for inoculum production. Bioresource Technology 101: 2326–2330.
Douds, D. D. and C. Ziegler. 2003. Improve your soil, increase your yields, and reduce your expenses with AM fungi. The Rodale Institute