Can arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi contribute to Striga management on cereals in Africa?

Lendzemo, V.W.; Ast, A. van; Kuyper, T.W.


Witchweeds (Striga spp.) are important root parasites of many cereal and legume crops in savanna and Sahelian regions of Africa. Evidence on the possible role of soil pathogenic bacteria and fungi in Striga control has been obtained. Here, the authors report that arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi can also affect the interaction between Striga and cereals. AM fungi negatively impacted on Striga seed germination, reduced the number of Striga seedlings attaching and emerging, and delayed the emergence time of Striga both in pot and field experiments. AM fungi enhanced the performance of the cereal host, allowing it to withstand Striga damage better. Management strategies for AM fungi for Striga control as part of an integrated management system are discussed