About this Research Topic
Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is established between the roots/rhizoids of ca 70% of extant plant species, including some of the most important crops, and specialized soil fungi. The AM fungi provide a direct interconnection between roots and soil as well as between root systems of different plant individuals belonging to the same or different plant species. AM fungi exert several direct (e.g., enhanced nutrient acquisition, pollutant immobilization/detoxification, plant carbon reallocation, induced pathogen tolerance, signal transfer), and indirect (e.g., photosynthesis stimulation, drought tolerance, soil physical and microbial conditioning) effects on the plants, with possible consequences to yield and agricultural product quality, multitrophic interaction (e.g., pollinator) networks, and soil quality. Besides having a finely tuned molecular dialogue with their plant hosts, the fungi also interact with soil microbes fulfilling important ecosystem functions, such as organic nutrient mineralization or stabilization of soil organic matter, and these interactions are further modulated by environmental (soil, climatic, ecosystem management) contexts.
The goal of this Research Topic is to provide a holistic view on the functioning of AM symbiosis in natural and anthropogenic systems, with special emphasis on metabolic and genetic reprogramming of the plants. In addition, this topic aims to promote mechanistic understanding of the formation, extent, and dynamics of the AM fungal hyphal networks and associated microbes in the soil, particularly with respect to agricultural production and feedback between human interventions and ecosystem functioning across various plant species/genotypes, soil types, climatic regions, and management systems (considering factors such as land-use intensity, tillage, crop rotation, and various kinds of inputs, among others). Knowledge should be synthesized from natural systems to build more sustainable agroecosystems for the future striving to improve resource recycling upon food/feed production, maintain/improve soil and plant quality, and satisfy human demands for various ecosystem services in a globalized and rapidly changing world. The collection of articles should provide quantitative answers, feeding the ongoing debate as to whether AM symbiosis should be included in crop breeding programs, considered in soil quality testing, and/or assigned any monetary value – or whether humans should not care much about this hidden soil resource in their future visions, which is the current state of the art.
We welcome a broad range of formats such as Original Research Articles, Reviews/meta-analyses, Hypotheses and Opinions, Letters and Commentaries relevant to AM symbiosis functioning in ecosystems (relevant but not necessarily restricted to agroecosystems), all being scientifically rigorous and always backed up with relevant references to previous research/scientific evidence. The following topics are particularly welcomed:
• Physiological and metabolic reprogramming of plants by AM fungi/symbiosis
• Molecular dialogue between plant, associated AM fungi, and hyphosphere microbes
• Interaction of AM fungi and soil bacteria/fungi/animals/protists in soil, and consequences of such interactions for plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses
• Each article should be including the human dimension of the tackled research, relevance to society and future agriculture
• Socio-economic aspects of AM symbiosis and its contributions to current and future (agro)ecosystem functioning, stability, resilience, and sustainability
• Studies from genetics and genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, and ionomics areas are all welcome. However, purely descriptive studies using -omics approaches will only be considered for review/ inclusion into this Research Topic if they provide justified insights into (demonstrated or theoretical) functions of the molecular pathways described.
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.