FARM-MANAGEMENT

FARM-MANAGEMENT

Farming practices have a significant impact on the diversity of beneficial microbial fungi known to play important roles in crop productivity, soil recovery and maintenance of healthy ecosystems, according to new research published today (14 September 2010) in the journal Environmental Microbiology. The conclusions could have important implications for the way humans manage the agricultural landscape and tackle food security issues. The study was led by Dr Christopher van der Gast at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), UK and Dr Gary Bending from the University of Warwick, UK.

The research team investigated the distribution of important arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), at nine arable and horticultural farms in England, with soil collected from both organically and conventionally managed fields at each farm.

The results of the study indicate that farm management has a significant impact on AMF richness, with organic farming shown to promote higher diversity relative to conventional farming.

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