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Bioresour Technol. 2006 Apr;97(6):809-18. Epub 2005 Jun 28.

On-farm production of AM fungus inoculum in mixtures of compost and vermiculite.

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USDA-ARS ERRC, 600 E. Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, PA 19038, USA.


On-farm production of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus inoculum can reduce the cost of the inoculum and increase utilization of this symbiosis in plant production. Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum Flugge) seedlings, colonized by AM fungi, were transplanted into raised bed enclosures. Media within the enclosures was vermiculite mixed with either field soil or yard clippings compost in Experiment I and vermiculite mixed with yard clippings compost or dairy manure/leaf compost in Experiment II. Compost and vermiculite mixtures yielded more propagules of AM fungi than soil-based mixtures in Experiment I. Growth of plants in a 1:4 (v/v) mixture of yard clippings compost and vermiculite produced more inoculum (503 propagules cm(-3)) than growth in 1:9 and 1:99 (v/v) mixtures (240 and 42 propagules cm(-3), respectively). Water, inorganic nutrient solution minus P, and fish protein digest were added to inoculum production enclosures in Experiment II. Results indicated that supplemental nutrient addition was unnecessary. This method produces a concentrated inoculum of AM fungi in a form readily used as an amendment to horticultural potting media for the production of vegetable seedlings.

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