Application of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to inhibit nitrogen uptake of weeds within crop fields
(1) Lebanon High School, Missouri
Invasive species cost the agriculture industry billions of dollars each year in lost revenue and control costs. This research addresses the potential neutralizing effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on the invasive species and aggressive agricultural weed, Cirsium arvense, by limiting its nitrogen uptake from the soil. A total of 36 C. arvense plants and 24 Glycine max soybean plants were grown in a controlled laboratory environment, with G. max being used to create a simulated crop field. We hypothesized that introducing AMF to C. arvense would reduce its ability to absorb nitrogen, therefore reducing the plant's growth. If AMF significantly reduces C. arvense’s capability to thrive, it is possible that AMF could be incorporated into commercial and private crop fields to serve as a natural herbicide against C. arvense. Growth data were collected for every plant including height, root length, and dry mass. Each sample was tested for its usable total nitrogen content. C. arvense plants grown with AMF displayed no significant difference in growth compared to those plants grown without AMF. No significant difference in the cohabitated groups was found. However, a significant difference in nitrogen content was found in all experimental groups. These results demonstrate that AMF has an effect on the nitrogen content of C. arvense, but does not affect the growth in the seedling stage.
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