Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities in an iron mining area and its surroundings: Inoculum potential, density, and diversity of spores related to soil properties

<div><p>ABSTRACT Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) interact symbiotically with most plant species, facilitating revegetation of areas under rehabilitation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the inoculum potential, density, and diversity of AMF spores in five environments, as well as the relation of species with soil properties. Soil samples were collected in five environments in a mining area and its surroundings in the Quadrilátero Ferrífero, Minas Gerais (Brazil): tailings piles in rehabilitation with grass, canga, Cerrado, native forest, and eucalyptus plantation; these samples were subjected to chemical and physical analyses. Spores were directly extracted from field samples and from trap cultures (TCs) established in two locations in the Southeast and South regions of Brazil for taxonomic identification of the species. Species richness, the Shannon diversity index (H’), and equitability were determined. Principal component analysis (PCA) was used to identify soil properties that most influenced AMF occurrence. Spore density showed no significant difference among the environments. A total of 59 AMF species were found. This is the first report of the occurrence of Acaulospora nivalis and Acaulospora alpina in Brazil. Higher H’ and species richness in the field were found in tailings piles and lower in canga. Canga showed higher inoculum potential. The development of TCs in two locations allowed a wider diversity of AMF species to be captured. Environments of the Quadrilátero Ferrífero are hotspots of AMF diversity, and the soil pH and exchangeable S and P contents are the properties that best explain the distribution of AMF species.</p></div>