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Enhancement of sorghum grain yield and nutrition: A role for arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi regardless of soil phosphorus availability

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Watts-Williams, S. J., Gill, A. R., Jewell, N., Brien, C. J., Berger, B., Tran, B. T. T., Mace, E., Cruickshank, A. W., Jordan, D. R., Garnett, T. and Cavagnaro, T. R. (2021) Enhancement of sorghum grain yield and nutrition: A role for arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi regardless of soil phosphorus availability. PLANTS, PEOPLE, PLANET, 4 (2). pp. 143-156.


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1002/ppp3.10224

Publisher URL: https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ppp3.10224


Societal Impact Statement Sorghum is an important cereal crop that provides calories and nutrients for much of the world's population, and it is often grown with low fertiliser input. Optimising the yield, nutritive content and bioavailability of sorghum grain with minimal input is of importance for human nutrition, and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi have previously shown potential to assist in this. Across sorghum genetic diversity, AM fungi improved the yield, nutrition and zinc and iron bioavailability of grain in a low phosphorus soil. Thus, food production systems that effectively manage AM fungi may improve consumer outcomes. Summary Sorghum is a C4 cereal crop that is an important source of calories and nutrition across the world, predominantly cultivated and consumed in low- and middle-income countries. Sorghum can be highly colonised by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, and the plant-fungal association can lead to improvements in biomass and nutrient uptake. High-throughput phenotyping allows us to non-destructively interrogate the ‘hidden’ effects of AM fungi on sorghum growth and phenology. Eight genetically diverse sorghum genotypes were grown in a soil amended with 2 or 20 mg P kg−1 and inoculated with an AM fungal culture of Rhizophagus irregularis. High-throughput phenotyping uncovered the ‘hidden’ effects of AM fungi on growth and phenology, while grain biomass, nutrition, Zn and Fe bioavailability and root AM colonisation was determined after destructive harvest. Sorghum plants colonised by AM fungi generally performed better than non-AM control plants, with greater yield, harvest indices, and grain P, Zn and Fe contents. During the early growth stages, AM colonisation led to temporary growth depressions. There were also AM fungal and P fertilisation effects on sorghum time-of-flowering. The sorghum genotype with the highest AM colonisation could barely produce grain when non-inoculated. The two genotypes that failed to mature had very low AM colonisation. Generally, the genetically diverse sorghum genotypes were highly responsive to AM colonisation and produced more grain of greater nutritive quality when colonised, without adverse consequences for micronutrient bioavailability.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Additional Information:Open access
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soils. Soil science
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soils. Soil science > Soil and crops. Soil-plant relationships. Soil productivity
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Methods and systems of culture. Cropping systems
Plant culture > Field crops
Plant culture > Field crops > Sorghum
Live Archive:21 Oct 2021 04:37
Last Modified:06 Jul 2022 05:45

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