Native arbuscular mycorrhizal and phosphate-solubilizing fungi found to act as biofertilizer for coffee plants

In search of possible natural fertilizers, Mexican researchers studied the interplay of two different groups of fungi. According to their findings, published in the journal Agroforestry Systems, inoculating coffee plants with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and phosphate-solubilizing fungi led to higher phosphorus levels in the soil, which contributed to the healthy and quicker growth of the crop.

  • The experiment was held under controlled conditions. Researchers adopted a randomized factorial design to avoid bias. The evaluation was set for eight months.
  • Several groups of coffee plants received either a consortium of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (CAMF), one of two phosphate-solubilizing fungi (Aspergillus nigeri and Penicillium brevicompactum) strains, or one of the possible combinations of the two groups. The control group did not receive any fungal inoculation.
  • At the end of the trial period, the consortium of A. nigeri and P. brevicompactum (CPSF) demonstrated the highest amount of available soil phosphorus.
  • The total foliar phosphorus levels of plants inoculated with CAMF, A. Niger + CAMF, CPSF + CAMF, P. brevicompactum + CAMF, and CPSF treatments exceeded that of the control group. The consortium treatments also noted increased growth of the coffee plants due to higher phosphorus concentrations.
  • The CPSF inoculation encouraged increased activity of phosphorus-liberating enzymes in the rhizosphere. The same elevated levels of acid phosphatase activity were detected in the roots of coffee plants that received the An, An + CAMF, and CPSF + CAMF inoculations.

Having identified the critical function filled by fungal groups in the processing of soil phosphorus for coffee plants, the researchers propose searching for other fungal strains with the makings of potential biofertilizers.

Journal Reference:

Rojas YDCP, Arias RM, Ortiz RM, Aguilar DT, Heredia G, Yon YR. EFFECTS OF NATIVE ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZAL AND PHOSPHATE-SOLUBILIZING FUNGI ON COFFEE PLANTS. Agroforestry Systems. 2018 Jan 29. DOI: 10.1007/s10457-018-0190-1

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