Improvement of nutritional quality of greenhouse-grown lettuce by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi is conditioned by the source of phosphorus nutrition
The improvement of the nutritional quality of lettuce by its association with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) has been recently reported in a previous study. The aim of this research was to evaluate if the fertilization with three P sources differing in water solubility affects the effectiveness of AMF for improving lettuce growth and nutritional quality. The application of either water-soluble P sources (Hewitt's solution and single superphosphate) or the water-insoluble (WI) fraction of a ¿rhizosphere-controlled fertilizer¿ did not exert negative effects on the establishment of the mycorrhizal symbiosis. AMF improved lettuce growth and nutritional quality. Nevertheless, the effect was dependent on the source of P and cultivar. Batavia Rubia Munguía (green cultivar) benefited more than Maravilla de Verano (red cultivar) in terms of mineral nutrients, total soluble sugars, and ascorbate contents. The association of lettuce with AMF resulted in greater quantities of anthocyanins in plants fertilized with WI, carotenoids when plants received either Hewitt's solution or WI, and phenolics regardless of the P fertilizer applied.