Organic management boosts the number of beneficial fungi in apple orchards

Photo credit: Jill Clardy

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) live in the soil and typically establish beneficial relationships with plants where they improve the ability of roots to absorb nutrients and water. AMF relationships with agricultural crops can make crops more resilient to stress and improve productivity. A new study published in the journal Applied Soil Ecology investigated how different factors such as location, farm management (organic vs non-organic) and altitude effected AMF presence in the roots of apple trees. The authors found differences in AMF communities based on management type and location. The results suggested that while the extent of root colonization did not differ between organic and non-organically managed apple trees, the number of AMF species was significantly higher in organic orchards.