Effects of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and Fertilization Levels on Industrial Tomato Growth and Production
The effect of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on industrial tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Isma F1) cultivated in North-Eastern Algeria was evaluated under greenhouse and field conditions in a vertisol soil intended for the cultivation of industrial tomato. In the greenhouse, a commercial AMF inoculum and native fungal isolates consisting of Funneliformis mosseae and Septoglomus constrictum, were added in sterilized or non-sterilized soil and tested for their effects on the growth of tomato. Inoculation with exotic AMF in the commercial inoculum or with native isolates had similar effects in increasing mycorrhizal root colonization rates and tomato growth. In the field, the commercial AMF inoculant was combined with three rates of chemical fertilizer used for the cultivation of industrial tomato (mono-ammonium phosphate, ammonium sulphate and NPK, applied at 0, 50 and 100% of the recommended dose). Introduced AMF significantly improved mycorrhizal root colonization levels, growth and yield as compared to the indigenous AMF alone. In addition, in the presence of the mycorrhizal inoculant, an application of 50% of recommended fertilizer dose provided the same yield as the full fertilizer dose without inoculation. Results clearly show that in this soil, plants needed both fertilization and AMF inoculation to achieve optimal growth and yield, and that the application of AMF can compensate for the reduction in chemical fertilizers, offering a more sustainable farming system that is respectful of the environment.