Molecular diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in onion roots from organic and conventional farming systems in the Netherlands

Galvan Vivero, G.A.; Paradi, I.; Burger, K.; Baar, J.; Kuyper, T.W.; Scholten, O.E.; Kik, C.


Diversity and colonization levels of naturally occurring arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in onion roots were studied to compare organic and conventional farming systems in the Netherlands. In 2004, 20 onion fields were sampled in a balanced survey between farming systems and between two regions, namely, Zeeland and Flevoland. In 2005, nine conventional and ten organic fields were additionally surveyed in Flevoland. AMF phylotypes were identified by rDNA sequencing. All plants were colonized, with 60% for arbuscular colonization and 84% for hyphal colonization as grand means. In Zeeland, onion roots from organic fields had higher fractional colonization levels than those from conventional fields. Onion yields in conventional farming were positively correlated with colonization level. Overall, 14 AMF phylotypes were identified. The number of phylotypes per field ranged from one to six. Two phylotypes associated with the Glomus mosseae-coronatum and the G. caledonium-geosporum species complexes were the most abundant, whereas other phylotypes were infrequently found. Organic and conventional farming systems had similar number of phylotypes per field and Shannon diversity indices. A few organic and conventional fields had larger number of phylotypes, including phylotypes associated with the genera Glomus-B, Archaeospora, and Paraglomus. This suggests that farming systems as such did not influence AMF diversity, but rather specific environmental conditions or agricultural practices