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Abstract

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi act as biostimulants in horticultural crops.

In the coming years, more sustainable horticultural practices should be developed to guarantee greateryield and yield stability, in order to meet the increasing food global demand. An environmentally-friendlyway to achieve the former objectives is represented by the biostimulant functions displayed by arbuscularmycorrhizal fungi (AMF). AMF support plant nutrition by absorbing and translocating mineral nutri-ents beyond the depletion zones of plant rhizosphere (biofertilisers) and induce changes in secondarymetabolism leading to improved nutraceutical compounds. In addition, AMF interfere with the phyto-hormone balance of host plants, thereby influencing plant development (bioregulators) and inducingtolerance to soil and environmental stresses (bioprotector). Maximum benefits from AMF activity will beachieved by adopting beneficial farming practices (e.g. reduction of chemical fertilisers and biocides), byinoculating efficient AMF strains and also by the appropriate selection of plant host/fungus combinations.This review gives an up to date overview of the recent advances in the production of quality AMF inoculaand in the biostimulant properties of AMF on plant health, nutrition and quality of horticultural crops(fruit trees, vegetables, flower crops and ornamentals). The agronomical, physiological and biochemicalprocesses conferring tolerance to drought, salinity, nutrient deficiency, heavy metal contaminations andadverse soil pH in mycorrhizal plants are encompassed. In addition, the influence of bacterial interactionsand farm management on AMF is discussed. Finally, the review identifies several future research areasrelevant to AMF to exploit and improve the biostimulant effects of AMF in horticulture. tIn the coming years, more sustainable horticultural practices should be developed to guarantee greateryield and yield stability, in order to meet the increasing food global demand. An environmentally-friendlyway to achieve the former objectives is represented by the biostimulant functions displayed by arbuscularmycorrhizal fungi (AMF). AMF support plant nutrition by absorbing and translocating mineral nutri-ents beyond the depletion zones of plant rhizosphere (biofertilisers) and induce changes in secondarymetabolism leading to improved nutraceutical compounds. In addition, AMF interfere with the phyto-hormone balance of host plants, thereby influencing plant development (bioregulators) and inducingtolerance to soil and environmental stresses (bioprotector). Maximum benefits from AMF activity will beachieved by adopting beneficial farming practices (e.g. reduction of chemical fertilisers and biocides), byinoculating efficient AMF strains and also by the appropriate selection of plant host/fungus combinations.This review gives an up to date overview of the recent advances in the production of quality AMF inoculaand in the biostimulant properties of AMF on plant health, nutrition and quality of horticultural crops(fruit trees, vegetables, flower crops and ornamentals). The agronomical, physiological and biochemicalprocesses conferring tolerance to drought, salinity, nutrient deficiency, heavy metal contaminations andadverse soil pH in mycorrhizal plants are encompassed. In addition, the influence of bacterial interactionsand farm management on AMF is discussed. Finally, the review identifies several future research areasrelevant to AMF to exploit and improve the biostimulant effects of AMF in horticulture.



Rouphael, Y.; Franken, P.; Schneider, C.; Schwarz, D.; Giovannetti, M.; Agnoluccie, M.; De Pascale, S.; Bonini, P.; Colla, G. 2015. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi act as biostimulants in horticultural crops. Scientia Horticulturae 196, 70-79.