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© 2018 Interactions between plants and soil microorganisms can influence the other interactions in which plants participate, including interactions with herbivores. Many fungi, including arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), form symbiotic relationships with the roots they inhabit, and potentially alter defense against pests. The objective of this study was to document the extent of root colonization by AMF on non-flooded rice plants grown under conditions typical of commercial fields. We hypothesized that AMF naturally colonized rice plants in different rice producing field locations. Rice plant samples were collected from areas across the southern United States, including Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas and two research stations in Louisiana. We quantified the amount of AMF colonization in insecticide-free rice plants over three consecutive years (2014⿿2016). The results revealed natural colonization of AMF in all rice producing areas. In all the three years of survey, rice-AMF associations were the greatest in Arkansas followed by Mississippi and Texas. This research will help draw attention to natural colonization of AMF in rice producing areas that can impact future rice research and production by facilitating agricultural exploitation of the symbiosis.

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Rice Science

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