Research Project

To enhance wheat and barley productivity for producers through optimizing the efficacy of arbuscular mycorrhizae mediated crop nitrogen uptake

Dr. Guillermo Hernandez-Ramirez, University of Alberta 

Start Date: May 1, 2021
End Date: April 30, 2023

AWC’s funding: $40,006

Increasing demand for greater cereal crop yield often motivates increasing the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers, leading to growing conditions with lower input use-efficiencies. Commercial agricultural products available to producers, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) inoculants, have been developed to improve cereal crop productivity through enhanced nutrient acquisition. However, there is still a need to quantify the efficacy of AMF inoculation in different Canadian cereal crop varieties. Moreover, the physiological mechanisms altered by AMF to achieve potential benefits to nitrogen use efficiency need to be further understood. Extrinsic crop management factors have been shown to impact AMF-host symbiosis and may influence the efficacy of AMF inoculants. As growing conditions and fertilization strategies are not always consistent across producers, the potential of AMF inoculation must be determined in various management situations, cereal crop varieties, or in combination with other agricultural products such as fungicides or nitrification inhibitors. The overall goal of the proposed research is to optimize arbuscular mycorrhizae inoculation potential and subsequent nitrogen use efficiency in cereal crops. This research will provide valuable agronomic knowledge that will enable producers to be more efficient in the application of nitrogen fertilizers and validate the efficacy of AMF inoculation in conjunction with common pesticides used in Canadian cereal crops.