Bacteria can’t have all the fun — it’s time for some very helpful fungi to get the respect they deserve.
Kris Guenette, PhD candidate at the University of Alberta, is working on just that. He’s looking into whether or not incorporating a fungal inoculant on wheat could help with nitrogen uptake, yield, and protein development.
Guenette is evaluating an existing commercial inoculant that uses arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi that’s soil-applied at seeding. So far, trials are showing there may be a positive response to applying the fungal product.
The research suggests that with lower soil nitrogen concentration, applying the fungus with a small amount of urea fertilizer is actually improving nitrogen uptake, leading to increases in both straw and nitrogen concentration.
In small plot trials, Guenette says he’s also looking at if the fungus can help plants defend against a pathogenic attack, as previous research suggests a relationship between a plant’s propensity for symbiosis (such as with good fungi) and pathogen attacks.
Check out the full discussion on this fascinating work in the Wheat School video below: