Increased arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal colonization reduces yield loss of rice (Oryza sativa L.) under drought

A. Chareesri*, G.B. de Deyn, L. Sergeeva, Anan Polthanee, Thomas W. Kuyper

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Drought reduces the availability of soil water and the mobility of nutrients, thereby limiting the growth and productivity of rice. Under drought, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) increase P uptake and sustain rice growth. However, we lack knowledge of how the AMF symbiosis contributes to drought tolerance of rice. In the greenhouse, we investigated mechanisms of AMF symbiosis that confer drought tolerance, such as enhanced nutrient uptake, stomatal conductance, chlorophyll fluorescence, and hormonal balance (abscisic acid (ABA) and indole acetic acid (IAA)). Two greenhouse pot experiments comprised three factors in a full factorial design with two AMF treatments (low- and high-AMF colonization), two water treatments (well-watered and drought), and three rice varieties. Soil water potential was maintained at 0 kPa in the well-watered treatment. In the drought treatment, we reduced soil water potential to − 40 kPa in experiment 1 (Expt 1) and to − 80 kPa in experiment 2 (Expt 2). Drought reduced shoot and root dry biomass and grain yield of rice in both experiments. The reduction of grain yield was less with higher AMF colonization. Plants with higher AMF colonization showed higher leaf P concentrations than plants with lower colonization in Expt 1, but not in Expt 2. Plants with higher AMF colonization exhibited higher stomatal conductance and chlorophyll fluorescence than plants with lower colonization, especially under drought. Drought increased the levels of ABA and IAA, and AMF colonization also resulted in higher levels of IAA. The results suggest both nutrient-driven and plant hormone-driven pathways through which AMF confer drought tolerance to rice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-328
Early online date15 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Abscisic acid (ABA)
  • Chlorophyll fluorescence
  • Indole acetic acid (IAA)
  • Stomatal conductance


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