Conclusions

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Monoxenic cultivation technologies are now a reality, and provide significantly high and economically attractive options to chemical fertilizations. These systems gain more relevance to the tropical conditions wherein AM fungal counts are poor. This mode of mass production offers a several-fold increase in effective propagule production over conventional bulking techniques. This mode of AM production offers an edge due to its user-friendly and highly adoptable packaging. The transition of technique to technology requires several attenuations and system approaches to make the technology cost-effective and economically attractive as well. This overall approach includes the identification of major rate-limiting factors, low-cost environmentally safe inputs and optimization of the scale of production. The changed scenario, in which bulk production is the need of the hour to meet the growing demand, is followed by several multi-location field demonstration trials on a wide range of plant hosts for extensive field evaluation. Any successful technology needs to have in-built components on quality control and process benchmarking for its efficient quality assurance. Both developing and developed countries have been successful in developing such technologies. However, there are still several bottlenecks and practical difficulties exist in its global acceptance, due to quality apprehensions of end users about the available inocula from various sources. Therefore, legislative intervention at governmental level is highly desirable for these bio-inoculants, for their more effective contribution in different growing systems towards a sustainable future in plant production.

With these findings and recognized effects, AM fungi thus appear to have a bright future, gaining tremendous importance in an effort towards reducing chemical application for sustainable agriculture, particularly among marginal farming communities.

A balanced but dynamic economy is needed from such technological innovations, to lead to a shared co-operative economic system for wider acceptability in the drive for sustainable agriculture.

Acknowledgements. The authors acknowledge partial financial support from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, for the AMF mass production technology development. We sincerely thank Dr. RK Pachauri, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), New Delhi, India, for the infrastructure and environment for developing the technology and kind cooperation regarding its subsequent refinements. Dr. (Ms.) Nandini Kumar is duly acknowledged for evaluating the manuscript for editorial corrections.

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