Does commercial inoculation promote arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi invasion?
Interventions with commercial inoculants have the potential to reduce the environmental footprint of agriculture, but their indiscriminate deployment has raised questions on the unintended consequences of microbial invasion. In the absence of explicit empirical reports on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) invasion, we examine the present framework used to define AMF invasion and offer perspectives on the steps needed to avoid the negative impacts of AMF invasion. Although commercial AMF isolates are potential invaders, invasions do not always constitute negative impacts on native community diversity and functions. Instead, the fates of the invading and resident communities are determined by ecological processes such as selection, drift, dispersal, and speciation. Nevertheless, we recommend strategies that reduce overdependence on introduced inoculants, such as adoption management practices that promote the diversity and richness of indigenous AMF communities, and the development of native propagules as a supplement to commercial AMF in applicable areas. Policies and regulations that monitor inoculant value chains from production to application must be put in place to check inoculant quality and composition, as well as the transport of inoculants between geographically distant regions.