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Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhizae (VAM), also known as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), form symbiotic relationships with plant roots, enhancing nutrient uptake and promoting overall plant health. 


In VAM, the fungus penetrates the roots of the host plant, forming structures called vesicles and arbuscules. These structures enhance the plant's ability to absorb water and nutrients, especially phosphorus, from the soil. In return, the plant provides the fungus with sugars produced through photosynthesis.


Benefits of Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhizae

  • Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhizae provides Nutrient Exchange:

    • The plant provides the mycorrhizal fungi with sugars produced through photosynthesis.
    • In return, the fungus enhances the plant's ability to absorb essential nutrients from the soil, particularly phosphorus and, to some extent, nitrogen and micronutrients.
  • Improved Nutrient Uptake:

    • It increases the surface area of the plant root system through the extensive network of fungal hyphae, enhancing the plant's ability to absorb water and nutrients from the soil.
    • The fungi are particularly effective in accessing phosphorus, which is often present in forms that are not easily available to plants.
  • Stress Tolerance:

    • It has been associated with increased tolerance of plants to environmental stresses such as drought and certain soil-borne diseases.
    • The mycorrhizal network can also contribute to the stabilization of soil aggregates, improving soil structure.
  • Agricultural Importance:

    • Many agricultural crops form symbiotic relationships with VAM fungi, and the use of mycorrhizal inoculants has been explored as a sustainable agricultural practice to improve nutrient uptake and crop yield.
  • Environmental Benefits:

    • VAM contributes to nutrient cycling in ecosystems and plays a crucial role in maintaining soil health and fertility.


How to use VAM in Agriculture?

  • Understand the Basics:

    • VAM is a type of mycorrhizal fungi that colonizes the roots of most plants.
    • The fungi facilitate nutrient uptake, especially phosphorus, and improve water absorption.
  • Select Suitable Crops:

    • VAM is beneficial for a wide range of crops, especially those with high nutrient requirements, such as cereals, legumes, and vegetables.
  • Inoculum Selection:

    • Obtain high-quality VAM inoculum from reliable sources. This can be in the form of soil containing VAM spores or commercially available inoculants.
  • Inoculation Methods:

    • Apply VAM inoculum to seeds, seedlings, or directly to the soil. Common methods include seed coating, soil incorporation, or application during transplanting.
  • Avoid Chemicals Harmful to VAM:

    • Minimize the use of fungicides and other chemicals that can harm mycorrhizal fungi. These chemicals can disrupt the symbiotic relationship between the fungi and plant roots.
  • Proper Soil Management:

    • Maintain healthy soil practices, including organic matter addition, minimal soil disturbance, and avoiding excessive use of synthetic fertilizers. VAM fungi thrive in environments with diverse microbial populations.
  • Balanced Fertilization:

    • While VAM fungi enhance phosphorus uptake, it's essential to maintain a balanced fertilizer application. Excessive phosphorus levels can reduce the plant's dependence on mycorrhizal associations.
  • Monitor Soil Conditions:

    • Regularly monitor soil conditions, pH levels, and nutrient content. Adjust management practices based on soil tests to create an optimal environment for VAM.
  • Crop Rotation:

    • Incorporate crop rotation practices to maintain a diverse microbial community in the soil. Continuous monoculture can negatively impact VAM populations.
  • Water Management:

  • Efficient water management is crucial. Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhizae can enhance a plant's ability to withstand drought, but waterlogged conditions can negatively affect their performance.

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