Student Summer Scholars
 

Title

S3 Study on Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Associations in Fruit Trees at GVSU’s Sustainable Agriculture Project

Disciplines

Environmental Sciences | Sustainability

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Abstract

Most plant species have a symbiotic relationship between fungi and their roots called an arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) association. AM associations have been shown to have numerous beneficial effects for plants, including increased drought tolerance, pest resistance, plant growth, and improved soil structure. This research characterized the AM associations in the roots of ten fruit trees found at GVSU’s Sustainable Agriculture Program using basic molecular techniques to identify the fungal species based on DNA sequences. Both morphological and sequence data were analyzed to characterize the nature of these associations. A total of 21 unique fungal genotypes were recovered from the fruit trees and the percent of fungal colonization ranged from 11-43%. Our analyses show variation between both the fungal diversity and percent colonization between the different fruit trees. In the future, comparisons between fungal data and nutrient analysis of plants could lead to development of a fungal inoculum designed to benefit plant growth.