Agroecology of arbuscular mycorrhizal activity

John C. Zak, Bobbie McMichael

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are recognized as important components of agricultural systems as a consequence of their roles in plant mineral nutrition, root disease dynamics, and soil fertility. While it is generally agreed that AM fungi are a necessary component of agricultural ecosystems, there is only limited understanding as to how to integrate and maintain efficient AM fungi within an annual cropping system. Moreover, our understanding of the dynamics of AM fungi within an agricultural context applies only to several types of cropping systems under a limited number of climatic conditions. Based on the information that has been collected over the last decade, the importance of AM fungi in various cropping systems is being taken more seriously, particularly as production of some crops moves toward low-input sustainable systems. The importance of AM fungi seems to be more crucial for these low input systems than in the traditional high input production systems, where breeding has selected for genotypes that respond to high fertilizer and water inputs. However, as the cost of chemical inputs and irrigation continues to increase and as researchers assess the sustainability of traditional farming practices, the benefits of AM fungi in an overall crop management plan become economically important.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStructure and Function in Agroecosystem Design and Management
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781420041460
ISBN (Print)9780849309045
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


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