ifoam'96 ifoam'96
Book of Abstracts
11th IFOAM Scientific Conference
11-15 August 1996, Copenhagen, Denmark
EcoWeb Denmark


Benefit of Mycorrhiza in Sustainable Agriculture. P2; 74

Vestberg, M.1 ; Jakobsen, I.2 ; Joner, E.3 ; Kahiluoto, H.4 & Thingstrup, I.2

1Agricultural Research Centre of Finland, MTT, Laukaa Research and ElitePlant Laboratory, FIN-41330 Vihtavuori, Finland; 2Plant Nutrition,Environmental Science and Technology Department, Risoe National Laboratory, DK-4000 Roskilde, Denmark; 3Department of Biotechnological Sciences, Microbiology Section, Agricultural University of Norway, P.O. Box 5040, N-1432 Aas, Norway; 4Agricultural Research Centre of Finland, MTT, Research Station for Ecological Agriculture, Partala, FIN-51900 Juva,Finland

Mycorrhiza is a symbiosis formed by fungi and a large variety of plants, including important agricultural crops. When a plant forms mycorrhiza the symbiotic fungus acts as an extension of the root system, thus increasing its effectiveness in nutrient uptake. The presence of effective mycorrhizal fungi can to a certain extent substitute for the external supply of especially phosphorus. In the case of another symbiosis, the nitrogen fixing symbiosis of legumes, it is possible to carry out field inoculations with the beneficial microorganism. With the mycorrhizal fungi, however,field inoculation is only rarely feasible because inoculum production of these fungi is expensive and the inoculation effect in field soils is hard to predict. Rather, trying to increase mycorrhizal propagule density, and improve the parameters that influence fungal growth and symbiotic effectiveness through management of the pre-existing mycorrhizal fungi seemto be a practical and inexpensive route to enhanced benefit of this biological resource.
A three year project involving laboratories in Denmark, Finland and Norway was launched 1994 to investigate which factors influence the utilization of mycorrhiza in Nordic agriculture and how these factors can be optimized. The approach is to measure diversity, survival and functioning of mycorrhiza in relation to climate and cropping systems, especially fertilization and tillage. Selected results and their implications for sustainable agriculture in the Nordic countries are presented.