Impacts of domestication of 27 crop species on the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis

From the report «Impacts of domestication on the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis of 27 crop species», of Nieves Martín‐Robles, Anika Lehmann, Erica Seco, Ricardo Aroca, Matthias C. Rillig, Rubén Milla, published at New Phytologist.

Fertilization and other agricultural practices reduce soil AM fungi and root colonization. Such conditions might promote the evolution of low mycorrhizal responsive crops. Authors measured the effect of domestication on mycorrhizal responsiveness across 27 crop species and their wild progenitors. Additionally, they tested if domestication effects differed under contrasting phosphorus (P) availabilities.

The response of AM symbiosis to domestication varied with P availability. On average, wild progenitors benefited from the AM symbiosis irrespective of P availability, while domesticated crops only profited under P‐limited conditions. Magnitudes and directions of response were diverse among the 27 crops, and were unrelated to phylogenetic affinities or to the coordinated evolution with fine root traits.

Results indicate disruptions in the efficiency of the AM symbiosis linked to domestication. Under high fertilization, domestication could have altered the regulation of resource trafficking between AM fungi and associated plant hosts. Provided that crops are commonly raised under high fertilization, this result has important implications for sustainable agriculture.