Aims Western Africa (WA) sorghums are predominantly cultivated under low plant available phosphorus (P) soil conditions with a diverse population of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) present. This study aims to determine whether sorghum breeding programs should target higher colonization by AMF through understanding the genotypic variation of sorghum for AMF-root colonization (AMF-RC) under different P-fertility conditions at different growth stages and assessing the genetics underlying AMF-RC using genome-wide association study (GWAS).
Method A sorghum diversity panel of 187 WA genotypes was grown in low-P soil in a pot trial for 38 days and a subset of 13 genotypes was grown in a low- and high-P field until maturity at ICRISAT-Samanko in Mali, WA. Root samples were taken at 38 days from the pot trial plants and at flowering time in the field trials. Shoot biomass was analyzed for P concentration and dry matter yield. GWAS was conducted for shoot-P-content and AMF-RC.
Results Significant genotypic variation was observed for AMF-RC, but the repeatability estimates were only low (w2 = 0.15 at 38 days) to moderate (w2 = 0.54–0.56 at flowering time). AMF-RC was significantly higher in low-P versus high-P field conditions. Large residual variation was observed for AMF-RC in both pot and field trials. None of the genotypic groups, contrasting for selection history, race and grain yield performance across multiple field trials, differed significantly for AMF-RC. AMF-RC showed no or negative relationships to shoot-P-content and grain yield, irrespective of soil-P level or plant developmental stage. AMF-RC at 38 days was significantly correlated (r = 67**) to AMF-RC at flowering. However, GWAS did not detect significant genomic regions for AMF-RC but did for shoot-P content.
Conclusion Although genetic differences for AMF-RC were detected, the trait appears to be highly polygenic. Genotypic selection for higher AMF-RC in WA sorghums is not promising due to the low heritability and the lack of positive relationships with P acquisition.
Leiser, W.L.; Olatoye, M.O.; Fattunde, F.W.; Neumann, G.; Weltzien, E.; Haussmann, B.I.G. No need to breed for enhanced colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to improve low-P adaptation of West African sorghums. Plant and Soil (2015) : [DOI: 10.1007/s11104-015-2437-1]