Permaculture fungi boost phosphorous uptake (journal)

Application of Mycorrhiza and Soil from a Permaculture System Improved Phosphorus Acquisition in Naranjilla

Naranjilla (Solanum quitoense) is a perennial shrub plant mainly cultivated in Ecuador, Colombia, and Central America where it represents an important cash crop. Current cultivation practices not only cause deforestation and large-scale soil degradation but also make plants highly susceptible to pests and diseases. The use of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can offer a possibility to overcome these problems. In this study, the impact of AMF inoculation on growth and nutrition parameters of naranjilla has been assessed. For inoculation three European reference AMF strains and soils originating from three differently managed naranjilla plantations in Ecuador (conventional, organic, and permaculture) have been used. The growth response experiment has shown that two of the three reference AMF strains, a mixture of the three and soil from a permaculture site led to significantly better acquisition of phosphorus (up to 104%) compared to uninoculated controls. These results suggest that the use of AMF strains and local soils as inoculants represent a valid approach to improve nutrient uptake efficiency of naranjilla and consequently to reduce inputs of mineral fertilizers.