|Authors: ||A. Trinchera, E. Testani, C. Ciaccia, G. Campanelli, F. Leteo, S. Canali|
|Keywords: ||AMF, agro-ecological service-providing crops, root, SEM, yield, available P|
In an organically-designed horticultural system, cash crops, Agro-ecological Service-providing Crops (ASC, such as living much, cover crops, etc.) and weeds share the same space by communicating with each other and exchanging water and nutrients through the root network.
In such tailored organic systems, ASCs could promote below-ground plant-microorganism interactions through AMF (Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi) infection, so as to increase P uptake by the cash crop.
In a two-year experiment, artichoke (Cynara cardunculus L. var. scolymus L.) was intercropped with a selected mix of cover crops in a randomized block design with two factors: the living mulch (LM and no LM) and the artichoke cultivars ('Mazzaferrata' and 'Jesino'). To evaluate the effect of living mulch on biotic and abiotic rhizosphere interactions, root AMF infection of artichoke was evaluated by SEM and optical microscope analysis.
Moreover, soil rhizosphere P, artichoke yield and crop P uptake were determined at the time of harvest.
At comparable crop yields, proliferation of root hairs, increase of mucilage exudation and a higher mycorrhization were observed in LM 'Jesino' artichoke with respect to the no LM one, despite the lower available soil P in the rhizosphere, being cultivar-dependent.
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