Inoculum Diversity

Inoculating with several AM or EM fungal isolates may be appropriate for reestablishing a range of mycotrophic plant species on a disturbed site, especially if plant diversity was high, prior to disturbance (Dodd and Thomson 1994). Whether fungal inocula are native, exotic, or both depends largely on the host plant and environmental conditions. Mixed mycorrhizal inocula may ensure the persistence of inoculant fungi in the field after transplantation if several isolates were better adapted to conditions in the nursery, rather than extremes in the environment (Dodd and Thomson 1994). Under most circumstances, attempts to increase mycorrhizal fungi in soil have involved inoculation with exotic fungal species (Miller et al. 1994). Exotic fungi must outcompete native mycorrhizal populations, persist on roots, and colonize the root systems of neighboring hosts to be effective. Consequently, most exotic AM and EM fungi are eventually replaced with native mycorrhizae over time (Marx and Cordell 1987). However, their importance to the initial stages of plant establishment is often critical.

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