Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal hyphae reduce soil erosion by surface water flow in a greenhouse experiment
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The role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in resisting surface flow soil erosion has never been tested experimentally. We set up a full factorial greenhouse experiment using Achillea millefolium with treatments consisting of addition of AMF inoculum and non-microbial filtrate, non-AMF inoculum and microbial filtrate, AMF inoculum and microbial filtrate, and non-AMF inoculum and non-microbial filtrate (control) which were subjected to a constant shear stress in the form of surface water flow to quantify the soil detachment rate through time. We found that soil loss can be explained by the combined effect of roots and AMF extraradical hyphae and we could disentangle the unique effect of AMF hyphal length, which significantly reduced soil loss, highlighting their potential importance in riparian systems.