Suppression of fungal and nematode plant pathogens through arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

Biol Lett. 2012 Apr 23;8(2):214-7. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.0874. Epub 2011 Oct 19.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi represent ubiquitous mutualists of terrestrial plants. Through the symbiosis, plant hosts, among other benefits, receive protection from pathogens. A meta-analysis was conducted on 106 articles to determine whether, following pathogen infection of AM-colonized plants, the identity of the organisms involved (pathogens, AM fungi and host plants) had implications for the extent of the AM-induced pathogen suppression. Data on fungal and nematode pathogens were analysed separately. Although we found no differences in AM effectiveness with respect to the identity of the plant pathogen, the identity of the AM isolate had a dramatic effect on the level of pathogen protection. AM efficiency differences with respect to nematode pathogens were mainly limited to the number of AM isolates present; by contrast, modification of the ability to suppress fungal pathogens could occur even through changing the identity of the Glomeraceae isolate applied. N-fixing plants received more protection from fungal pathogens than non-N-fixing dicotyledons; this was attributed to the more intense AM colonization in N-fixing plants. Results have implications for understanding mycorrhizal ecology and agronomic applications.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glomeromycota / physiology*
  • Mycorrhizae / physiology
  • Nematoda / physiology*
  • Nitrogen Fixation
  • Plant Development
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology
  • Plant Diseases / parasitology
  • Plants / microbiology*
  • Plants / parasitology*
  • Soil Microbiology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Symbiosis*