Reintroduction of Soil Mycorrhizae into Roadside Prairie Planting

Principal Investigator:

Iris Charvat, Professor, Plant Biology

Project Summary:

The grasses planted next to highway rights-of-way often have a difficult time growing due to poor soil conditions. The soil may be low in nutrients and high in salt accumulation, conditions inhospitable for the growth of many plants. MnDOT wants to improve the establishment of vegetation by selecting for native grasses and forbes that are tolerant to salt and by providing these plants with biofertilizer in the form of mycorrhizal fungi. Vesicular arbuscular mycorrhiza (VAM) takes-up nutrients, especially phosphorus, from the soil and passes these nutrients to the plant. Generally, these mycorrhizal plants do better than non-mycorrhial ones under slight to moderate stress conditions, including nutrient deficiency and drought. This research will involve the isolation and characterization of VAM from prairies and wetlands. The VAM will be used as inoculum to generate more greenhouse/growth chamber/nutrient cultured inocula for establishment of native grasses. Recommendations for the collection, production and establishment of VAM for restoration projects will be made to MnDOT at the conclusion of this project.

Sponsor:

Project Details:

  • Start date: 10/1994
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Research Area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Environment, Maintenance