Vachaspati Mishra, Walid Ellouze and Ronald J. Howard
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are considered to be enormously important in contemporary agriculture and horticulture for their ability to improve crop disease and fertility management in commercial field and greenhouse crop production. Recently, commercial greenhouse producers have begun using AM inoculum to increase yields and provide sustainable growing conditions in organic and hydroponic production systems. However, strong evidence in support of their effectiveness in hydroponic production is still lacking. Future research is expected to address benefits of the use of AM fungi in hydroponic greenhouse crops, such as defense against pathogen, herbivore attack and the effective management of photo-assimilates by plants, which are essential for fruit production. In order to increase our understanding of the usefulness of AM fungi in hydroponic greenhouses, large-scale trial and a cost-benefit evaluation of the process are needed. This article discusses the use of AM fungi for improving organic and hydroponic greenhouse crop production and disease control, considering that AM fungi inoculations in soil-based greenhouses and fields have proven to be very effective.