Inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi improves the nutritional value of tomatoes.

Hart, M.M., Ehret, D.L., Krumbein, A., Leung, C., Murch, S., Turi, C., and Franken, P. (2014). "Inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi improves the nutritional value of tomatoes.", Mycorrhiza, 25(5), pp. 359-376. doi : 10.1007/s00572-014-0617-0  Access to full text

Abstract

Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi can affect many different micronutrients and macronutrients in plants and also influence host volatile compound synthesis. Their effect on the edible portions of plants is less clear. Two separate studies were performed to investigate whether inoculation by AM fungi (Rhizophagus irregularis, Funneliformis mosseae, or both) can affect the food quality of tomato fruits, in particular common minerals, antioxidants, carotenoids, a suite of vitamins, and flavor compounds (sugars, titratable acids, volatile compounds). It was found that AM fungal inoculation increased the nutrient quality of tomato fruits for most nutrients except vitamins. Fruit mineral concentration increased with inoculation (particularly N, P, and Cu). Similarly, inoculated plants had fruit with higher antioxidant capacity and more carotenoids. Furthermore, five volatile compounds were significantly higher in AM plants compared with non-AM controls. Taken together, these results show that AM fungi represent a promising resource for improving both sustainable food production and human nutritional needs.

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