J. Jefwa, B. Vanlauwe, D. Coyne, P. van Asten, S. Gaidashova, E. Rurangwa, M. Mwashasha, A. Elsen
Crop association with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) often prove beneficial to crop productivity through a number of mechanisms, such as improved access to nutrients and water and pest and disease suppression. Banana and plantain (Musa spp.) are both mycorrhizal plants, with a number of studies demonstrating the strong stimulatory effect of AMF on plant growth in pots. Therefore, application of AMF to newly deflasked tissue culture plants or in nurseries may improve plant growth and possibly provide healthier plants for sale to farmers. Pot trials have also shown that inoculated plants are better able to suppress nematodes. However, how this association benefits banana and plantain plant performance under field conditions remains largely unknown. Studies are currently underway to determine the mycorrhizal associations of banana and plantain cultivars with AMF in East and Central Africa. Greenhouse studies complement field studies for comparison at the different levels. In West Africa, studies have been conducted to assess AMF association and yield impact following inoculation. Data from across Africa increasingly highlights that composition and abundance of AMF species associated with Musa spp. is highly variable. Up to 20 AMF species were found to be associated with banana plantations in East and Central Africa. Spore abundance, the inoculum reservoir that determines colonization, is largely influenced by management practices. The data generated to date increasingly illustrates the importance of AMF in banana systems and its sensitivity to crop and soil management practices. Some AMF species appear to be better than others with regard to their effects on banana growth, nutrient uptake and control of root damage by nematodes. Studies are in progress to screen AMF species and establish trials along different integrated soil fertility management practices. This paper summarizes the state-of-the-art regarding our knowledge of AMF and its (potential) impact on banana and plantain production in Africa.
Jefwa, J., Vanlauwe, B., Coyne, D., van Asten, P., Gaidashova, S., Rurangwa, E., Mwashasha, M. and Elsen, A. (2010). BENEFITS AND POTENTIAL USE OF ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI (AMF) IN BANANA AND PLANTAIN (MUSA SPP.) SYSTEMS IN AFRICA . Acta Hortic. 879, 479-486
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2010.879.52
beneficial microbes, biodiversity, crop improvement, Musa

Acta Horticulturae