Selection of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi for sugarcane in four soils with the presence of dark septate endophytes

ABSTRACT. The present study aimed to select efficient arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) for sugarcane growth and P nutrition in four soils that spontaneously contained dark septate endophytes (DSE). The effect of nine AMF isolates was evaluated individually in sugarcane presprouted seedlings (SP81-3250) grown under greenhouse conditions for a 120-day period. The isolates that stimulated plant growth in the soils with low P availability were Acaulospora colombiana (ACOL), Claroideoglomus etunicatum (CETU), Gigaspora margarita (GMAR), Rhizophagus clarus (RCLA) and Scutellospora calospora (SCAL). Compared to the Yellow Argisol, which had the highest P level, the Red-Yellow Argisol, with an intermediate P content, increased plant height. Compared to the other treatments, inoculation with ACOL, RCLA, and SCAL resulted in higher foliar P content in plants grown in soils with high to intermediate P levels. Root colonization by AMF and DSE was verified in the plants, with the coexistence of both fungal groups in the same plant and/or root fragment. However, AMF colonization was low compared to DSE colonization. The cooccurrence of DSE and AMF was higher in the plants inoculated with ACOL, RCLA, SCAL, and Dentiscutata heterogama. ACOL, CETU, GMAR, RCLA, and SCAL are AMF isolates that have the potential to establish a mycorrhizal inoculant for sugarcane that would be effective in several soils.