Mycorrhizal Propagule Persistence in a Succession of Cereals in a Disturbed and Undisturbed Andisol Fertilized with Two Nitrogen Sources

Pablo Cornejo1*, Rosa Rubio1, and Fernando Borie1

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form symbiosis with plant roots, improving its establishment, nutrition, and tolerance to adverse soil conditions. In annual crop rotations, some aspects such as the type of N fertilizer and tillage system used can affect the AMF propagule density and its functionality in the following crop. To analyze the effect of the agronomic practices previously mentioned on the persistence and density of AMF propagules, a study in a succession of cereals was carried out. For this, soil previously cropped with wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and fertilized with urea (NH4+) or sodium nitrate (NO3-) was disturbed in each case by simulating conventional tillage (CT) or maintained without disturbing, simulating no-tillage (NT). It was then cultivated with oat (Avena sativa L.) using the same N sources. Higher densities of AMF active mycelium and colonized root length in the NT soil were observed (76% and 497% higher than in CT soil, respectively, P < 0.001). Moreover, NT + NO3- interaction produced a higher density of AMF spores (75% higher than in the rest of the treatments, P < 0.05), although showing a decrease in comparison with the previous wheat crop. These results suggest that N source and tillage system interact to influence persistence and density of AMF propagules, an important aspect to consider in acidic soils intended for annual crops.

Keywords: arbuscular mycorrhiza, mycorrhizal propagules, soil disturbing, soil pH, wheat-oat succession.
1 Universidad de La Frontera, Departamento de Ciencias Químicas, Casilla 54-D, Temuco, Chile).
*Corresponding author (pcornejo@ufro.cl