Biodiversity of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi in Plant Roots and Rhizosphere Soil from different arid locations of Qatar
Recently more attention or interest has been developed towards the role of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) in plant growth. Qatar, which is a part of the Arabian Gulf region, is mostly arid with hot and dry climatic conditions. The current research aims to investigate the Occurrence, species composition and abundance of AMF in Qatar, for which rhizosphere soil samples and roots of 16 plants belonging to 12 families from eight locations were collected. The AMF from different samples were identified based on the sequencing of the PCR product of the amplified conserved ITS region. The results showed that the AMF infection rate varies with location and plant species. Tamarix aphylla recorded the highest AMF infection rate (100%), followed by Blepharis ciliaris (98%) and Sporobolus ioclados (92%). AMF spore counts per 100g of soil ranged from 29.3 spores in Blepharis ciliaris to 643 spores /100g in Fagonia indica. The spore counts per location is variable and the range was 29.3 to 643/100g soil, however, no correlation has been detected between root colonization rate and spore counts. While all AMF identified at species levels were reported in other regions this research will be the first to investigate the AMF biodiversity from Qatar. However, new species are still expected since some were identified only at higher taxonomic levels. Claroideoglomus drummondii and Rhizophagus irregularis were the most widespread species while Claroideoglomus claroideum and Diversispora aurantia were the less present. This study provides comprehensive biological data about taxonomy, distribution and prevalence of AMF in Qatar soil, which opens new research towards developing its future applications for environmental conservation and sustainable agriculture.