The AMF Distribution in India - A Checklist

Project - Indian Context

India represents rich species diversity being one of the top ten plant species-rich nations in world and 4th in Asia, not only in terms higher plants, but also lower plants such as algae, lichens and bryophytes, and also bacteria. Lot of endemic fungal diversity(total 14500 fungal species) is known to occur in India (Source : India’s Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity). Knowledge about the global pattern of distribution of AMF remains scarce because of their cryptic lifestyle, obligately symbiotic nature and difficult taxonomy. There are currently ~270 described morphospecies of Glomeromycota all over the world of which 197 (personal communication) belonging to 18 genera are known to exist in India but there is a general lack of information about distribution of these fungi within India and other countries of Asia and Africa.

Compared to other features of Glomeromycota, the species diversity of AM fungi in India is much poorly described. This is despite us being the major centre for culture collection and production of large quantity of AMF inocula as biofertilisers and synthetic seeds. Mycorrhiza network at TERI , India organised 7th International Conference on Mycorrhiza (ICOM7) - Mycorrhiza for all an under earth revolution from 6-11 Jan 2013 at New Delhi. TERI provides all other information about mycorrhiza through bulletin Mycorrhiza news and publishes International directory of mycorrhizologists. Earlier studies indicate the uneven distribution of Glomeromycota among different states, climatic zones and ecosystems, with wide taxonomic range of host plants in India.

Presence of AMF has been recorded from 88% of the sites examined in India with Glomus fasciculatum (now renamed as Rhizophagus fasciculatus based on molecular classification) and Glomus macrocarpum being the most commonly recorded species in 1980s. We had more than 105 Glomeromycota species known to exist up to year 2005 but a systematic record of occurrence and diversity of AMF in India is not available Earlier records conforms older classification with confusing names .The names have not been updated based on the availability of type specimens and molecular sequence data. Molecular data is not available for most of the species from India but in absence of molecular data, biodiversity information obtained by traditional morphological identification of spores is equally substantial and can be used to provide metadata to substantiate the molecular studies and generalize the distribution pattern of AMF. We hope the present checklist serves as a quick reference for knowing which Glomeromycotean fungi is expected at any Indian location and can be further used to fill the gaps present in the India region in the world distribution map of AMF.