Arbuscular Mycorrhizal (AM) and Non‑AM Endophytic Fungal Proliferation in Prairie Wheat Fields is Related to Soil Properties, Management, and Plant Nutrient Update

M. Dai1,2, C. Hamel1, M. St.Arnaud3, C. Grant4, N. Lupwayi5, H. Janzen5, X. Yang2 and Z. Zhou2


In a quest for indicators of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi activity in cultivated soils, we sampled 121 wheat fields across the Canadian prairies in 2009. Soils, crops and crop management were described, as well as development of the intra and extraradical mycelia of AM fungi and the intraradical colonization of wheat by non-AM fungi, which were very abundant.

Soils of different types had different properties and productivity. Root colonization by AM and non-AM endophytic fungi decreased with increasing soil P level. Root colonization by non-AM fungi decreased with plant tissue P content. AM fungi colonization was positively related with plant tissue Zn concentration. Tillage intensity had no influence on root colonization by AM, or non-AM fungi, or on extraradical AM hyphal length. Pesticide application was associated with reduced AM fungal root colonization.

A first year of results suggest that (1) high P fertility and pesticide application negatively influence the abundance of fungal root endophytes in wheat crops, (2) tillage has little impact on the fungi living in wheat roots and (3) AM fungi contribute little to wheat P uptake, but may improve wheat uptake of Zn.


Proceedings of the Joint Conference of the Canadian Society of Soil Science and the Canadian Society of Agronomy. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. 20-24 June 2010

Author Locations and Affiliations

(1) Semiarid PrairieAgricultural Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
(2) College of Horticultural and Landscape Architecture, Southwest University, China
(3) Land Resource, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
(4) Brandon Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
(5) Lethbridge Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Posted June 2011