Organic farming boosts beneficial fungi in the soil

Photo credit: Kate Russell

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are an important part of the soil biodiversity that provide advantages to crops by increasing water and nutrient uptake. In a recent study, scientists from Sweden investigated the effect of organic and conventional agricultural practices on AMF in soils from fields that grow grains using organic and conventional management techniques, as well as pastures, and fallow fields. Pastures had the highest AMF diversity. Results also suggested that management type has an important effect on AMF soil communities. All of the organic grain fields sampled had greater AMF diversity than conventional grain fields. “In particular, we demonstrate the ability of organic farming to sustain greater AMF diversity relative to conventional farming, and the potential importance of this increased diversity for sustainable cereal production,” the authors concluded.