chapter  14
22 Pages

Mycorrhizal Fungi in Sustainable Horticultural Production under Changing Climate Situations

Soil is the host of several symbionts and free-living beneficial microbes apart from different flora and fauna. Mycorrhizae, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) represent symbiotic association between plant roots and certain soil fungi of order Glomales. Such an association plays a key role in nutrient management in varied ecosystems and also protects the host plants against environmental and biotic stresses. About 80% of the plants are colonized by mycorrhizae, hence their proper use can boost the production in depleted or degraded soils and assist in mitigating the harmful effects of different biotic and abiotic stresses. AMF biotechnology is usable for crops right from transplant stage in plug plant production, as is the case with horticultural/ forestry nurseries. Mycorrhizal symbiosis is deciphered and they are known to affect plant growth and health, as bio-fertilizers and bio-protectors. Maximum benefits can be obtained from inoculation with efficient AM fungal strain and careful selection of compatible host/ fungus/ substrate combinations. Interactions between AM fungi and other bio-agents have been found beneficial. With molecular and biotechnological gains, AMF science has become more advanced not only based on taxonomic classification and their beneficial effects on plant but different gene(s) responsible for successful harnessing of such an association in rhizosphere and their role in climate change situations are the future approaches.