Current developments in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi research and its role in salinity stress alleviation: a biotechnological perspective.

Abstract Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form widespread symbiotic associations with 80% of known land plants. They play a major role in plant nutrition, growth, water absorption, nutrient cycling and protection from pathogens, and as a result, contribute to ecosystem processes. Salinity stress conditions undoubtedly limit plant productivity and, therefore, the role of AMF as a biological tool for improving plant salt stress tolerance, is gaining economic importance worldwide. However, this approach requires a better understanding of how plants and AMF intimately interact with each other in saline environments and how this interaction leads to physiological changes in plants. This knowledge is important to develop sustainable strategies for successful utilization of AMF to improve plant health under a variety of stress conditions. Recent advances in the field of molecular biology, "omics" technology and advanced microscopy can provide new insight about these mechanisms of interaction between AMF and plants, as well as other microbes. This review mainly discusses the effect of salinity on AMF and plants, and role of AMF in alleviation of salinity stress including insight on methods for AMF identification. The focus remains on latest advancements in mycorrhizal research that can potentially offer an integrative understanding of the role of AMF in salinity tolerance and sustainable crop production.

PMID: 24708070