Entry, J.A., P.T. Rygiewicz, L.S. Watrud and P.K. Donnelly. 2002. Influence of adverse soil conditions on the formation and function of Arbuscular mycorrhizas. Advances in Environmental Research 7:123-138.
The majority of plants have mycorrilizal fungi associated with them. Mycorrilizal fungi are ecologically significant because they form relationships in and on the roots of a host plant in a symbiotic association. The host plant provides the fungus with soluble carbon sources, and the fungus provides the host plant with an increased capacity to absorb water and nutrients from the soil. Adverse conditions are a pervasive feature in both natural and agronomic soils. The soil environment is constantly changing with regard to moisture, temperature and nutrient availability. In addition, soil properties are often manipulated to improve crop yields. In many cases, soils may be contaminated through disposal of chemicals that are toxic to plants and microorganisms. The formation and function of mycorrhizal relationships are affected by edaphic conditions such as soil composition, moisture, temperature, pH, cation exchange capacity; and also by anthropogenic stressors including soil compaction, metals and pesticides. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are of interest for their reported roles in alleviation of diverse soil-associated plant stressors, including those induced by metals and polychlorinated aliphatic and phenolic pollutants. Much mycorrhizal research has investigated the impact of extremes in water, temperature, pH and inorganic nutrient availability on mycorrhizal formation and nutrient acquisition. Evaluation of the efficacy of plant-mycorrhizal associations to remediate soils contaminated with toxic materials deserves increased attention. Before the full potential benefits of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to reclaim contaminated soils can be realized, research advances are needed to improve our understanding of the physiology of mycorrhizae subjected to adverse physical and chemical conditions. This paper will review literature and discuss the implications of soil contamination on formation and function of arbuscular mycorrhizal associations.