Addition of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi Enhances Terpene Synthase Expression in Salvia rosmarinus Cultivars

Emily Leggatt, Alistair Griffiths, Simon Budge, Anthony Stead, Alan Gange, Paul Devlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Culinary herbs are commercially cultivated for their wide range of volatile compounds that give characteristic aromas and tastes. Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus Spenn.) is an excellent model for assessment of methods improvement of volatile production as cultivars offer a wide variety of aromatic profiles due to the large family of terpene synthase genes. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) associations have been shown to improve essential oil production in aromatic plants and offer one approach to enhance aroma in commercial herb production. Changes in the expression of seven different terpene synthases were compared in six rosemary cultivars in response to addition of AMF to a peat substrate. Addition of AMF profoundly influenced terpene synthase expression in all cultivars and did so without impacting the optimised plant size and uniformity achieved in these conditions. In addition, two methods for AMF application, developed with the horticultural industry in mind, were tested in this study. Uniform incorporation of AMF mixed into the growing substrate prior to planting of a root plug produced the most consistent root colonisation. Overall, our findings demonstrate the potential for the use of AMF in the improvement of aroma in culinary herbs within a commercial setting but show that outcomes are likely to greatly vary depending on variety.
Original languageEnglish
Article number315
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2023

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