Promise and predictability of a fungal inoculum for sustainable agriculture - Soil predictors for growth promotion of Cladosporium tenuissimum on Triticum aestivum
MSc Lena von Saldern
Supervision: Prof. Klaus Schlaeppi
Current intensive agricultural practices are causing substantial negative impacts on agroecosystems. One approach to reduce the damages to ecosystems caused specifically by chemical fertilization while maintaining high agricultural yields involves the implementation of beneficial soil fungi which can increase crop nutrient uptake from soils and thereby reduce fertilization requirements. The fungus Cladosporium tenuissiumum is one such example and is commercially marketed to increase wheat nutrient supply and biomass. However, the efficacy of fungal inoculation is inconsistent across agricultural fields. Therefore, in this thesis work, a pot experiment was conducted with 25 field soils to assess the influence of varying soil parameters on the inoculation success of C. tenuissimum.
The physicochemcial parameters water holding capacity, soil organic matter and cation exchange capacity as well as the availability of the nutrients N, P and K and the abundance of key soil fungal taxa were identified as important influential factors for inoculation success. A linear regression model incorporating 14 soil parameters can explain 90 % of the observed variability and accurately predict inoculation success in our pot experiment for respective treatments. Future data from field experiments could be incorporated in this model to allow for predictions of inoculation success under field conditions.