Certain drought-stressed wheat cultivars perform better when their roots are in symbiosis with beneficial fungi
Scientists at Aarhus University have discovered that fungi associated with plant roots may improve growth and yield of drought-stressed wheat.
Water scarcity has a negative impact on wheat production. As a consequence of exposure to drought, crops show poorer growth and lower yield. This is a serious problem as the predicted increase in frequency of extreme climate episodes will lead to multiple drought conditions during crop growth which in turn will reduce the yield of wheat, one of the world’s most important foods.
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that drought stress in crops will become increasingly serious in the future. Globally, wheat yield is only 30-60 percent of its potential.
Fungi may help
A specific group of useful fungi – the so-called arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM fungi) – may be able to help alleviate drought stress in wheat. These fungi live in a symbiotic relationship with plant roots. Recent research from Aarhus University demonstrates that the fungi can improve growth and yield in some wheat varieties under drought stress.