Shreya Plassery

Phosphorus is necessary for plant growth. However, due to repeated applications by farmers globally, phosphorus (P) is accumulating in soil as stable forms (known as legacy P). Legacy P is not very available to plants as a P source and can leach into the water, causing eutrophication. This project tested whether activators such as Arbuscular Mycorrhizae (AMF) and Spent Mushroom Substrate (SMS) could help snap pea plants access legacy P from alfalfa and corn soils. Soils were either inoculated with AMF, mixed with 10% SMS or had both activators combined. The rate of germination, shoot and root length, leaf size and biomass were recorded and compared with control. Results showed promise: plants grown in soil inoculated with AMF were found to be healthier and bore more flowers than the control. Since P is a finite resource, accessing this legacy P is essential for future crop growth and protecting water sources.

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