Multiple Factors Influence the Role of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi in Soil Aggregation. A Meta-Analysis

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Plant & Soil







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Background and aims: Soil aggregation is a crucial aspect of ecosystem functioning in terrestrial ecosystems. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) play a key role in soil aggregate formation and stabilization. Here we quantitatively analyzed the importance of experimental settings as well as biotic and abiotic factors for the effectiveness of AMF to stabilize soil macroaggregates. Methods: We gathered 35 studies on AMF and soil aggregation and tested 13 predictor variables for their relevance with a boosted regression tree analysis and performed a meta-analysis, fitting individual random effects models for each variable. Results and conclusions: The overall mean effect of inoculation with AMF on soil aggregation was positive and predictor variable means were all in the range of beneficial effects. Pot studies and studies with sterilized sandy soil, near neutral soil pH, a pot size smaller than 2.5 kg and a duration between 2.2 and 5 months were more likely to result in stronger effects of AMF on soil aggregation than experiments in the field, with non-sterilized or fine textured soil or an acidic pH. This is the first study to quantitatively show that the effect of AMF inoculation on soil aggregation is positive and context dependent. Our findings can help to improve the use of this important ecosystem process, e.g. for inoculum application in restoration sites. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

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Leifheit E, SD Veresoglou, A Lehmann, EK Barto, MC Rillig (2013) Multiple factors influence the role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in soil aggregation. A Meta-Analysis. Plant and Soil 374:523-537.

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