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Use of Microbes for the Alleviation of Soil Stresses
vol. 1, 2014; Pages:21 42

Mycorrhizal Fungi to Alleviate Drought Stress on Plant Growth

Francesca Rapparini, Josep Penuelas

IBIMET-CNR, Institute of Biometeorology, National Research Council, Via P. Gobetti 101, 40129, Bologna, Italy


Drought stress induces a range of metabolic responses in plants. Some of these responses are mediated by arbuscular mycorrhizae (AM), which occur almost ubiquitously in symbiotic associations. These changes are highly variable and depend on various factors related mainly to the diversity of plant and fungal species but are generally beneficial to the host plants. This chapter addresses the role of AM fungi in the amelioration and alleviation of drought stress in host plants and their positive effects on growth. We discuss the various biochemical, physiological, and molecular processes used by plants to alleviate drought stress. We provide an update of the recent progress in functional approaches for unraveling the mechanisms that promote resistance to drought stress and discuss their significance to the host plants. The positive aspects of AM are also discussed in the context of the ecosystem services provided by the symbiosis under environmental drought conditions.

Keywords: Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis, Drought resistance, Plant growth, Water relations, Ecosystem services

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