Because arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) species differ in stimulating the growth of particular host plant species, AMF species may vary in their effects on plant intra-specific competition and the self-thinning process. We tested this hypothesis using a microcosm experiment with Medicago sativa L. as a model plant population and four AMF species. Our results showed that the AMF species Glomus diaphanum stimulated host plant growth more than the other three AMF species did when the plants were grown individually. Glomus diaphanum also induced the highest rate of mortality in the self-thinning plant populations. We also found a positive correlation between mortality and growth response to colonization. Our results demonstrate that AMF species can affect plant mortality and the self-thinning process by affecting plant growth differently.
arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; Medicago sativa L.; plant mortality; plant self-thinning
Mine tailings in arid and semi-arid environments are barren of vegetation and subject to eolian dispersion and water erosion. Revegetation is a cost-effective strategy to reduce erosion processes and has wide public acceptance. A major cost of revegetation is the addition of amendments, such as compost, to allow plant establishment. In this paper we explore whether arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can help support plant growth in tailings at a reduced compost concentration. A greenhouse experiment was performed to determine the effects of three AMF inocula on biomass, shoot accumulation of heavy metals, and changes in the rhizosphere microbial community structure of the native plant Prosopis juliflora (mesquite). Plants were grown in an acidic lead/zinc mine tailings amended with 10% (w/w) compost amendment, which is slightly sub-optimal for plant growth in these tailings. After two months, AMF-inoculated plants showed increased dry biomass and root length (p < 0.05) and effective AMF colonization compared to controls grown in uninoculated compost-amended tailings. Mesquite shoot tissue lead and zinc concentrations did not exceed domestic animal toxicity limits regardless of whether AMF inoculation was used. The rhizosphere microbial community structure was assessed using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) profiles of the small subunit RNA gene for bacteria and fungi. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) of DGGE profiles showed that the rhizosphere fungal community structure at the end of the experiment was significantly different from the community structure in the tailings, compost, and AMF inocula prior to planting. Further, CCA showed that AMF inoculation significantly influenced the development of both the fungal and bacterial rhizosphere community structures after two months. The changes observed in the rhizosphere microbial community structure may be either a direct effect of the AMF inocula, caused by changes in plant physiology induced by AMF, or a combination of both mechanisms.
Prosopis juliflora; phytostabilization; DGGE; mycorrhizal fungi; mine tailing
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and their bioprotective aspects are of great interest in the context of sustainable agriculture. Combining the benefits of AMF with the utilisation of plant species diversity shows great promise for the management of plant diseases in environmentally compatible agriculture. In the present study, AMF were tested against Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici with tomato intercropped with either leek, cucumber, basil, fennel or tomato itself. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) root colonisation of tomato was clearly affected by its intercropping partners. Tomato intercropped with leek showed even a 20 % higher AM colonisation rate than tomato intercropped with tomato. Positive effects of AMF expressed as an increase of tomato biomass compared to the untreated control treatment could be observed in root as well as in shoot weights. A compensation of negative effects of F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici on tomato biomass by AMF was observed in the tomato/leek combination. The intercropping partners leek, cucumber, basil and tomato had no effect on F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici disease incidence or disease severity indicating no allelopathic suppression; however, tomato co-cultivated with tomato clearly showed a negative effect on one plant/pot with regard to biomass and disease severity of F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici. Nonetheless, bioprotective effects of AMF resulting in the decrease of F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici disease severity were evident in treatments with AMF and F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici co-inoculation. However, these bioprotective effects depended on the intercropping partner since these effects were only observed in the tomato/leek and tomato/basil combination and for the better developed plant of tomato/tomato. In conclusion, the effects of the intercropping partner on AMF colonisation of tomato are of great interest for crop plant communities and for the influences on each other. The outcome of the bioprotective effects of AMF resulting in the decrease on F. oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici disease severity and/or compensation of plant biomass does not depend on the degree of AM colonisation but more on the intercropping partner.
AM fungi; Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici; Intercropping; Solanum lycopersicum; Biological control
The diversity of plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) has been experimentally shown to alter plant and AMF productivity. However, little is known about how plant and AMF diversity interact to shape their respective productivity.
We co-manipulated the diversity of both AMF and plant communities in two greenhouse studies to determine whether the productivity of each trophic group is mainly influenced by plant or AMF diversity, respectively, and whether there is any interaction between plant and fungal diversity. In both experiments we compared the productivity of three different plant species monocultures, or their respective 3-species mixtures. Similarly, in both studies these plant treatments were crossed with an AMF diversity gradient that ranged from zero (non-mycorrhizal controls) to a maximum of three and five taxonomically distinct AMF taxa, respectively. We found that within both trophic groups productivity was significantly influenced by taxon identity, and increased with taxon richness. These main effects of AMF and plant diversity on their respective productivities did not depend on each other, even though we detected significant individual taxon effects across trophic groups.
Our results indicate that similar ecological processes regulate diversity-productivity relationships within trophic groups. However, productivity-diversity relationships are not necessarily correlated across interacting trophic levels, leading to asymmetries and possible biotic feedbacks. Thus, biotic interactions within and across trophic groups should be considered in predictive models of community assembly.
The majority of plants are involved in symbioses with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), and these associations are known to have a strong influence on the performance of both plants and insect herbivores. Little is known about the impact of AMF on complex trophic chains, although such effects are conceivable. In a greenhouse study we examined the effects of two AMF species, Glomus intraradices and G. mosseae on trophic interactions between the grass Phleum pratense, the aphid Rhopalosiphum padi, and the parasitic wasp Aphidius rhopalosiphi. Inoculation with AMF in our study system generally enhanced plant biomass (+5.2%) and decreased aphid population growth (−47%), but there were no fungal species-specific effects. When plants were infested with G. intraradices, the rate of parasitism in aphids increased by 140% relative to the G. mosseae and control treatment. When plants were associated with AMF, the developmental time of the parasitoids decreased by 4.3% and weight at eclosion increased by 23.8%. There were no clear effects of AMF on the concentration of nitrogen and phosphorus in plant foliage. Our study demonstrates that the effects of AMF go beyond a simple amelioration of the plants’ nutritional status and involve rather more complex species-specific cascading effects of AMF in the food chain that have a strong impact not only on the performance of plants but also on higher trophic levels, such as herbivores and parasitoids.
Aphidius rhopalosiphi; Insect herbivory; Multitrophic interactions; Parasitoid performance; Rhopalosiphum padi
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are widespread soil microorganisms that associate mutualistically with plant hosts. AMF receive photosynthates from the host in return for various benefits. One of such benefits is in the form of enhanced pathogen tolerance. However, this aspect of the symbiosis has been understudied compared to effects on plant growth and its ability to acquire nutrients. While it is known that increased AMF species richness positively correlates with plant productivity, the relationship between AMF diversity and host responses to pathogen attack remains obscure. The objective of this study was to test whether AMF isolates can differentially attenuate the deleterious effects of a root pathogen on plant growth, whether the richest assemblage of AMF isolates provides the most tolerance against the pathogen, and whether AMF-induced changes to root architecture serve as a mechanism for improved plant disease tolerance. In a growth chamber study, we exposed the plant oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) to all combinations of three AMF isolates and to the plant root pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. We found that the pathogen caused an 81% reduction in shoot and a 70% reduction in root biomass. AMF significantly reduced the highly deleterious effect of the pathogen. Mycorrhizal plants infected with the pathogen produced 91% more dry shoot biomass and 72% more dry root biomass relative to plants solely infected with R. solani. AMF isolate identity was a better predictor of AMF-mediated host tolerance to the pathogen than AMF richness. However, the enhanced tolerance response did not result from AMF-mediated changes to root architecture. Our data indicate that AMF communities can play a major role in alleviating host pathogen attack but this depends primarily on the capacity of individual AMF isolates to provide this benefit.
Below-ground (BG) symbionts of plants can have substantial influence on plant growth and nutrition. Recent work demonstrates that mycorrhizal fungi can affect plant resistance to herbivory and the performance of above- (AG) and BG herbivores. Although these examples emerge from diverse systems, it is unclear if plant species that express similar defensive traits respond similarly to fungal colonization, but comparative work may inform this question. To examine the effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on the expression of chemical resistance, we inoculated 8 species of Asclepias (milkweed)—which all produce toxic cardenolides—with a community of AMF. We quantified plant biomass, foliar and root cardenolide concentration and composition, and assessed evidence for a growth-defense tradeoff in the presence and absence of AMF. As expected, total foliar and root cardenolide concentration varied among milkweed species. Importantly, the effect of mycorrhizal fungi on total foliar cardenolide concentration also varied among milkweed species, with foliar cardenolides increasing or decreasing, depending on the plant species. We detected a phylogenetic signal to this variation; AMF fungi reduced foliar cardenolide concentrations to a greater extent in the clade including A. curassavica than in the clade including A. syriaca. Moreover, AMF inoculation shifted the composition of cardenolides in AG and BG plant tissues in a species-specific fashion. Mycorrhizal inoculation changed the relative distribution of cardenolides between root and shoot tissue in a species-specific fashion, but did not affect cardenolide diversity or polarity. Finally, a tradeoff between plant growth and defense in non-mycorrhizal plants was mitigated completely by AMF inoculation. Overall, we conclude that the effects of AMF inoculation on the expression of chemical resistance can vary among congeneric plant species, and ameliorate tradeoffs between growth and defense.
plant–herbivore interactions; mycorrhizal fungi; plant defense; above-below-ground interactions; growth-defense tradeoff; root defense; phylogenetic signal
Plants interact with a variety of other community members that have the potential to indirectly influence each other through a shared host plant. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are generally considered plant mutualists because of their generally positive effects on plant nutrient status and growth. AMF may also have important indirect effects on plants by altering interactions with other community members. By influencing plant traits, AMF can modify aboveground interactions with both mutualists, such as pollinators, and antagonists, such as herbivores. Because herbivory and pollination can dramatically influence plant fitness, comprehensive assessment of plant–AMF interactions should include these indirect effects. To determine how AMF affect plant–insect interactions, we grew Cucumis sativus (Cucurbitaceae) under five AMF inoculum treatments and control. We measured plant growth, floral production, flower size, and foliar nutrient content of half the plants, and transferred the other half to a field setting to measure pollinator and herbivore preference of wild insects. Mycorrhizal treatment had no effect on plant biomass or floral traits but significantly affected leaf nutrients, pollinator behavior, and herbivore attack. Although total pollinator visitation did not vary with AMF treatment, pollinators exhibited taxon-specific responses, with honey bees, bumble bees, and Lepidoptera all responding differently to AMF treatments. Flower number and size were unaffected by treatments, suggesting that differences in pollinator preference were driven by other floral traits. Mycorrhizae influenced leaf K and Na, but these differences in leaf nutrients did not correspond to variation in herbivore attack. Overall, we found that AMF indirectly influence both antagonistic and mutualistic insects, but impacts depend on the identity of both the fungal partner and the interacting insect, underscoring the context-dependency of plant–AMF interactions.
aboveground–belowground; arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; Cucumis sativus; herbivore; indirect interaction; pollinator
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are known for their beneficial effects on plants. However, there is increasing evidence that some ruderal plants, including several agricultural weeds, respond negatively to AMF colonization. Here, we investigated the effect of AMF on the growth of individual weed species and on weed-crop interactions.
First, under controlled glasshouse conditions, we screened growth responses of nine weed species and three crops to a widespread AMF, Glomus intraradices. None of the weeds screened showed a significant positive mycorrhizal growth response and four weed species were significantly reduced by the AMF (growth responses between −22 and −35%). In a subsequent experiment, we selected three of the negatively responding weed species – Echinochloa crus-galli, Setaria viridis and Solanum nigrum – and analyzed their responses to a combination of three AMF (Glomus intraradices, Glomus mosseae and Glomus claroideum). Finally, we tested whether the presence of a crop (maize) enhanced the suppressive effect of AMF on weeds. We found that the growth of the three selected weed species was also reduced by a combination of AMF and that the presence of maize amplified the negative effect of AMF on the growth of E. crus-galli.
Our results show that AMF can negatively influence the growth of some weed species indicating that AMF have the potential to act as determinants of weed community structure. Furthermore, mycorrhizal weed growth reductions can be amplified in the presence of a crop. Previous studies have shown that AMF provide a number of beneficial ecosystem services. Taken together with our current results, the maintenance and promotion of AMF activity may thereby contribute to sustainable management of agroecosystems. However, in order to further the practical and ecological relevance of our findings, additional experiments should be performed under field conditions.
The phytoremedial potential of Ipomoea aquatica and role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) during Cadmium uptake was studied under two different soils i.e., soil inoculated with and without AMF. The plants were treated with different concentrations of Cd(NO)3 starting from 0, 5, 10, 25, 50, and 100 ppm in three replicate design in soil with and without AMF inoculation. Results showed that AMF enhanced accumulation of cadmium in plant tissues at all concentrations. Plants in AMF exhibited tolerance for Cd up to 100 mg/l and accumulated 88.07% in its tissues with no visual symptoms of toxicity, whereas those in non-AMF showed marked growth reduction at the same concentration with a metal accumulation of 73.2%. A significant variation of antioxidant enzymes under different environments evaluated the defense pathways of plants during uptake of Cd. Physiological changes and nutrient uptake showed that plants inoculated in AMF were more unwavering during stress conditions. The study established that phytoremedial potential of I. aquatica depends on rhizospheric conditions which enhanced Cd uptake. Finally, it was established that AMF was able to maintain an efficient symbiosis with I. aquatica in soil moderately contaminated by Cd, viable due to relation between fungus and plant.
Phytoremediation; Cadmium; AMF; Ipomoea aquatica; Antioxidant enzymes
Hypericum perforatum L. (St. John’s-wort, Hypericaceae) is a valuable medicinal plant species cultivated for pharmaceutical purposes. Although the chemical composition and pharmacological activities of H. perforatum have been well studied, no data are available concerning the influence of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on this important herb. A laboratory experiment was therefore conducted in order to test three AMF inocula on H. perforatum with a view to show whether AMF could influence plant vitality (biomass and photosynthetic activity) and the production of the most valuable secondary metabolites, namely anthraquinone derivatives (hypericin and pseudohypericin) as well as the prenylated phloroglucinol—hyperforin. The following treatments were prepared: (1) control—sterile soil without AMF inoculation, (2) Rhizophagus intraradices (syn. Glomus intraradices), (3) Funneliformis mosseae (syn. Glomus mosseae), and (4) an AMF Mix which contained: Funneliformis constrictum (syn. Glomus constrictum), Funneliformis geosporum (syn. Glomus geosporum), F. mosseae, and R. intraradices. The application of R. intraradices inoculum resulted in the highest mycorrhizal colonization, whereas the lowest values of mycorrhizal parameters were detected in the AMF Mix. There were no statistically significant differences in H. perforatum shoot mass in any of the treatments. However, we found AMF species specificity in the stimulation of H. perforatum photosynthetic activity and the production of secondary metabolites. Inoculation with the AMF Mix resulted in higher photosynthetic performance index (PItotal) values in comparison to all the other treatments. The plants inoculated with R. intraradices and the AMF Mix were characterized by a higher concentration of hypericin and pseudohypericin in the shoots. However, no differences in the content of these metabolites were detected after the application of F. mosseae. In the case of hyperforin, no significant differences were found between the control plants and those inoculated with any of the AMF applied. The enhanced content of anthraquinone derivatives and, at the same time, better plant vitality suggest that the improved production of these metabolites was a result of the positive effect of the applied AMF strains on H. perforatum. This could be due to improved mineral nutrition or to AMF-induced changes in the phytohormonal balance. Our results are promising from the biotechnological point of view, i.e. the future inoculation of H. perforatum with AMF in order to improve the quality of medicinal plant raw material obtained from cultivation.
AMF species specificity; Anthraquinone derivatives; Arbuscular mycorrhiza; Hyperforin; Photosynthetic performance index; St. John’s-wort
Two experiments were conducted over 2 years in commercial potato fields in Shropshire, UK, to evaluate the compatibility of the nematicide aldicarb with commercial inocula of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in the control of the potato cyst nematode Globodera pallida. The AMF used were Vaminoc (mixed-AMF inoculum), Glomus intraradices (BioRize BB-E) and G. mosseae (isolate BEG 12). In the absence of AMF, the in-soil hatch of G. pallida increased 30% (P < 0.01) from wk-2 to wk-4 after planting. Inoculation of physiologically-aged potato (cv. Golden Wonder) tubers with AMF eliminated this delay in G. pallida hatch by stimulating a mean increase of 32% (P < 0.01) in hatch within 2 wk after planting. In the aldicarb-treated plots in Experiment 1, G. pallida multiplication rate was 38% lower (P < 0.05) in roots of AMF-inoculated than noninoculated plants, but in Experiment 2, this effect was slightly lower (P = 0.07). In these plots, the single AMF inocula showed also a weak trend (P = 0.10) towards greater tuber yields relative to their noninoculated counterparts. Mycorrhization therefore appears to enhance the efficacy of carbamate nematicides against G. pallida and consequently more research is proposed to validate these findings and fully explore the potential of this model.
integrated pest management; potato cyst nematode; Globodera pallida; arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; Glomus spp.; interaction; aldicarb; hatch; multiplication; Solanum tuberosum
Negative or positive feedback between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and host plants can contribute to plant species interactions, but how this feedback affects plant invasion or resistance to invasion is not well known. Here we tested how alterations in AMF community induced by an invasive plant species generate feedback to the invasive plant itself and affect subsequent interactions between the invasive species and its native neighbors. We first examined the effects of the invasive forb Solidago canadensis L. on AMF communities comprising five different AMF species. We then examined the effects of the altered AMF community on mutualisms formed with the native legume forb species Kummerowia striata (Thunb.) Schindl. and on the interaction between the invasive and native plants. The host preferences of the five AMF were also assessed to test whether the AMF form preferred mutualistic relations with the invasive and/or the native species. We found that S. canadensis altered AMF spore composition by increasing one AMF species (Glomus geosporum) while reducing Glomus mosseae, which is the dominant species in the field. The host preference test showed that S. canadensis had promoted the abundance of AMF species (G. geosporum) that most promoted its own growth. As a consequence, the altered AMF community enhanced the competitiveness of invasive S. canadensis at the expense of K. striata. Our results demonstrate that the invasive S. canadensis alters soil AMF community composition because of fungal-host preference. This change in the composition of the AMF community generates positive feedback to the invasive S. canadensis itself and decreases AM associations with native K. striata, thereby making the native K. striata less dominant.
The response of Alliumcepa, A. roylei, A. fistulosum, and the hybrid A. fistulosum × A. roylei to the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF) Glomus intraradices was studied. The genetic basis for response to AMF was analyzed in a tri-hybrid A. cepa × (A. roylei × A. fistulosum) population. Plant response to mycorrhizal symbiosis was expressed as relative mycorrhizal responsiveness (R′) and absolute responsiveness (R). In addition, the average performance (AP) of genotypes under mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal conditions was determined. Experiments were executed in 2 years, and comprised clonally propagated plants of each genotype grown in sterile soil, inoculated with G. intraradices or non-inoculated. Results were significantly correlated between both years. Biomass of non-mycorrhizal and mycorrhizal plants was significantly positively correlated. R′ was negatively correlated with biomass of non-mycorrhizal plants and hence unsuitable as a breeding criterion. R and AP were positively correlated with biomass of mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plants. QTLs contributing to mycorrhizal response were located on a linkage map of the A. roylei × A. fistulosum parental genotype. Two QTLs from A. roylei were detected on chromosomes 2 and 3 for R, AP, and biomass of mycorrhizal plants. A QTL from A. fistulosum was detected on linkage group 9 for AP (but not R), biomass of mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plants, and the number of stem-borne roots. Co-segregating QTLs for plant biomass, R and AP indicate that selection for plant biomass also selects for enhanced R and AP. Moreover, our findings suggest that modern onion breeding did not select against the response to AMF, as was suggested before for other cultivated species. Positive correlation between high number of roots, biomass and large response to AMF in close relatives of onion opens prospects to combine these traits for the development of more robust onion cultivars.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00122-010-1501-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The effect of an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus “AMF” (Glomus constrictum Trappe) on growth, pigments, and phosphorous content of marigold (Tagetes erecta) plant grown under different levels of drought stress was investigated. The applied drought stress levels reduced growth vigor (i.e. plant height, shoot dry weight, flower diameter as well as its fresh and dry weights) of mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plant as compared to control plant (non-drought stressed plant). The presence of mycorrhizal fungus, however, stimulated all growth parameters of the treated plant comparing to non-mycorrhizal treated plant. The photosynthetic pigments (carotene in flowers and chlorophylls a and b in leaves) were also stimulated by the mycorrhizal fungi of well-watered as well as of water-stressed plants. The total pigments of mycorrhizal plants grown under well-watered conditions were higher than those of non-mycorrhizal ones by 60%. In most cases, drought-stressed mycorrhizal plants were significantly better than those of the non-mycorrhizal plants. So, the overall results suggest that mycorrhizal fungal colonization affects host plant positively on growth, pigments, and phosphorous content, flower quality and thereby alleviates the stress imposed by water with holding.
Arbuscular mycorrhiza; Glomus constrictum; Fungus; Drought stress; Marigold; Tagetes erecta; Growth and flowering
The diversity potential of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in three different tropical soils of southern part of India was assessed by traditional morpho-typing of AMF-spores and by culture-independent nested-PCR of internal transcribed spacer region of ribosomal genes. The population diversity of AMF in soil was strongly correlated with available P2O5 in soil. Among the three different soils, black-cotton soil had more diversified AMF species than alluvial and red sandy soils. Pooled data of morpho-typing and sequence-driven analysis revealed that Glomus, Gigaspora, Scutellospora and Acaulospora are the AMF genera present in these soils. The diversity of AMF in soil differs with the mycorrhiza colonizing the plant roots.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; Diversity; Internal transcribed spacer; Morpho-typing; Nested-PCR
Symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) have been shown to influence both the diversity and productivity of grassland plant communities. These effects have been postulated to depend on the differential effects of individual mycorrhizal taxa on different plant species; however, so far there are few detailed studies of the dynamics of AMF colonization of different plant species. In this study, we characterized the communities of AMF colonizing the roots of two plant species, Prunella vulgaris and Antennaria dioica, in a Swedish seminatural grassland at different times of the year. The AMF small subunit rRNA genes were subjected to PCR, cloning, sequencing, and phylogenetic analysis. Nineteen discrete sequence types belonging to Glomus groups A and B and to the genus Acaulospora were distinguished. No significant seasonal changes in the species compositions of the AMF communities as a whole were observed. However, the two plant species hosted significantly different AMF communities. P. vulgaris hosted a rich AMF community throughout the entire growing season. The presence of AMF in A. dioica decreased dramatically in autumn, while an increased presence of Ascomycetes species was detected.
High concentrations of heavy metals have been shown to adversely affect the size, diversity, and activity of microbial populations in soil. The aim of this work was to determine how the diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi is affected by the addition of sewage-amended sludge containing heavy metals in a long-term experiment. Due to the reduced number of indigenous AM fungal (AMF) propagules in the experimental soils, several host plants with different life cycles were used to multiply indigenous fungi. Six AMF ecotypes were found in the experimental soils, showing consistent differences with regard to their tolerance to the presence of heavy metals. AMF ecotypes ranged from very sensitive to the presence of metals to relatively tolerant to high rates of heavy metals in soil. Total AMF spore numbers decreased with increasing amounts of heavy metals in the soil. However, species richness and diversity as measured by the Shannon-Wiener index increased in soils receiving intermediate rates of sludge contamination but decreased in soils receiving the highest rate of heavy-metal-contaminated sludge. Relative densities of most AMF species were also significantly influenced by soil treatments. Host plant species exerted a selective influence on AMF population size and diversity. We conclude based on the results of this study that size and diversity of AMF populations were modified in metal-polluted soils, even in those with metal concentrations that were below the upper limits accepted by the European Union for agricultural soils.
The use of microorganisms to improve the availability of nutrients to plants is of great importance to agriculture. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of triple inoculation of cowpea with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), plant growth-promoting bacteria (PGPB) and rhizobia to maximize biological nitrogen fixation (BNF) and promote plant growth. The experiment was conducted in a greenhouse using cowpea plants (Vigna unguiculata L. Walp cv. IPA 206). The treatments included inoculation with strains of Bradyrhizobium sp. (BR 3267 and EI – 6) individually and as a mixture, an absolute control (AC) and mineral nitrogen control (NC), all combined with the presence or absence of native AMF (Glomus etunicatum) and PGPB (Paenibacillus brasilensis - 24) in a 5x2x2 factorial design. All treatments were replicated three times. Contrasts were performed to study the treatment of variables. Inoculation with Bradyrhizobium sp. (BR 3267 and EI – 6) and G. etunicatum favored nitrogen acquisition and phosphorus availability for the cowpea plants. Inoculation with P. brasilensis – 24 increased colonization by Bradyrhizobium sp. and G. etunicatum and promoted cowpea growth, while the nitrogen from symbiosis was sufficient to supply the plants nutritional needs.
arbuscular mycorrhiza; biological nitrogen fixation; PGPB; rhizobia
Background and Aims
It is increasingly evident that plant tolerance to stress is improved by mycorrhiza. Thus, suitable plant–fungus combinations may also contribute to the success of phytoremediation of heavy metal (HM)-polluted soil. Metallothioneins (MTs) and polyamines (PAs) are implicated in the response to HM stress in several plant species, but whether the response is modulated by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) remains to be clarified. The aim of the present study was to check whether colonization by AMF could modify growth, metal uptake/translocation, and MT and PA gene expression levels in white poplar cuttings grown on HM-contaminated soil, and to compare this with plants grown on non-contaminated soil.
In this greenhouse study, plants of a Populus alba clone were pre-inoculated, or not, with either Glomus mosseae or G. intraradices and then grown in pots containing either soil collected from a multimetal- (Cu and Zn) polluted site or non-polluted soil. The expression of MT and PA biosynthetic genes was analysed in leaves using quantitative reverse transcription–PCR. Free and conjugated foliar PA concentrations were determined in parallel.
On polluted soil, AMF restored plant biomass despite higher Cu and Zn accumulation in plant organs, especially roots. Inoculation with the AMF caused an overall induction of PaMT1, PaMT2, PaMT3, PaSPDS1, PaSPDS2 and PaADC gene expression, together with increased free and conjugated PA levels, in plants grown on polluted soil, but not in those grown on non-polluted soil.
Mycorrhizal plants of P. alba clone AL35 exhibit increased capacity for stabilization of soil HMs, together with improved growth. Their enhanced stress tolerance may derive from the transcriptional upregulation of several stress-related genes, and the protective role of PAs.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; contaminated soil; heavy metals; metallothioneins; polyamines; Populus alba; white poplar
A green house study was conducted to investigate the ability of an isolate of Trichoderma harzianum (P52) and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in enhancing growth and control of a wilt pathogen caused by Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici in tomato seedlings. The plants were grown in plastic pots filled with sterilized soils. There were four treatments applied as follows; P52, AMF, AMF + P52 and a control. A completely randomized design was used and growth measurements and disease assessment taken after 3, 6 and 9 weeks. Treatments that significantly (P < 0.05) enhanced heights and root dry weights were P52, AMF and a treatment with a combination of both P52 and AMF when compared the control. The treatment with both P52 and AMF significantly (P < 0.05) enhanced all growth parameters (heights; shoot and root dry weight) investigated compared to the control. Disease severity was generally lower in tomato plants grown with isolate P52 and AMF fungi either individually or when combined together, though the effect was not statistically significant (P≥ 0.05). A treatment combination of P52 + AMF had less trend of severity as compared to each individual fungus. T. harzianum and AMF can be used to enhance growth in tomato seedlings.
Arbuscular mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF); Trichoderma harzianum (P52); Disease severity
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are obligate symbionts with most terrestrial plants. They improve plant nutrition, particularly phosphate acquisition, and thus are able to improve plant growth. In exchange, the fungi obtain photosynthetically fixed carbon. AMF are coenocytic, meaning that many nuclei coexist in a common cytoplasm. Genetic exchange recently has been demonstrated in the AMF Glomus intraradices, allowing nuclei of different Glomus intraradices strains to mix. Such genetic exchange was shown previously to have negative effects on plant growth and to alter fungal colonization. However, no attempt was made to detect whether genetic exchange in AMF can alter plant gene expression and if this effect was time dependent. Here, we show that genetic exchange in AMF also can be beneficial for rice growth, and that symbiosis-specific gene transcription is altered by genetic exchange. Moreover, our results show that genetic exchange can change the dynamics of the colonization of the fungus in the plant. Our results demonstrate that the simple manipulation of the genetics of AMF can have important consequences for their symbiotic effects on plants such as rice, which is considered the most important crop in the world. Exploiting natural AMF genetic variation by generating novel AMF genotypes through genetic exchange is a potentially useful tool in the development of AMF inocula that are more beneficial for crop growth.
The arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis is formed between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and plant roots. The fungi provide the plant with inorganic phosphate (P). The symbiosis can result in increased plant growth. Although most global food crops naturally form this symbiosis, very few studies have shown that their practical application can lead to large-scale increases in food production. Application of AMF to crops in the tropics is potentially effective for improving yields. However, a main problem of using AMF on a large-scale is producing cheap inoculum in a clean sterile carrier and sufficiently concentrated to cheaply transport. Recently, mass-produced in vitro inoculum of the model mycorrhizal fungus Rhizophagus irregularis became available, potentially making its use viable in tropical agriculture. One of the most globally important food plants in the tropics is cassava. We evaluated the effect of in vitro mass-produced R. irregularis inoculum on the yield of cassava crops at two locations in Colombia. A significant effect of R. irregularis inoculation on yield occurred at both sites. At one site, yield increases were observed irrespective of P fertilization. At the other site, inoculation with AMF and 50% of the normally applied P gave the highest yield. Despite that AMF inoculation resulted in greater food production, economic analyses revealed that AMF inoculation did not give greater return on investment than with conventional cultivation. However, the amount of AMF inoculum used was double the recommended dose and was calculated with European, not Colombian, inoculum prices. R. irregularis can also be manipulated genetically in vitro, leading to improved plant growth. We conclude that application of in vitro R. irregularis is currently a way of increasing cassava yields, that there is a strong potential for it to be economically profitable and that there is enormous potential to improve this efficiency further in the future.
Although arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are known for their positive effect on flax growth, the impact of genetic manipulation in this crop on arbuscular mycorrhiza and plant performance was assessed for the first time. Five types of transgenic flax that were generated to improve fiber quality and resistance to pathogens, through increased levels of either phenylpropanoids (W92.40), glycosyltransferase (GT4, GT5), or PR2 beta-1,3-glucanase (B14) or produce polyhydroxybutyrate (M50), were used. Introduced genetic modifications did not change the degree of mycorrhizal colonization as compared to parent cultivars Linola and Nike. Arbuscules were well developed in each tested transgenic type (except M50). In two lines (W92.40 and B14), a higher abundance of arbuscules was observed when compared to control, untransformed flax plants. However, in some cases (W92.40, GT4, GT5, and B14 Md), the mycorrhizal dependency for biomass production of transgenic plants was slightly lower when compared to the original cultivars. No significant influence of mycorrhiza on the photosynthetic activity of transformed lines was found, but in most cases P concentration in mycorrhizal plants remained higher than in nonmycorrhizal ones. The transformed flax lines meet the demands for better quality of fiber and higher resistance to pathogens, without significantly influencing the interaction with AMF.
Mycorrhiza; Linum usitatissimum; Transgenic flax; Plant performance
The community composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) was analyzed in roots of Gentiana verna, Gentiana acaulis, and accompanying plant species from two species-rich Swiss alpine meadows located in the same area. The aim of the study was to elucidate the impact of host preference or host specificity on the AMF community in the roots. The roots were analyzed by nested PCR, restriction fragment length polymorphism screening, and sequencing of ribosomal DNA small-subunit and internal transcribed spacer regions. The AMF sequences were analyzed phylogenetically and used to define monophyletic sequence types. The AMF community composition was strongly influenced by the host plant species, but compositions did not significantly differ between the two sites. Detailed analyses of the two cooccurring gentian species G. verna and G. acaulis, as well as of neighboring Trifolium spp., revealed that their AMF communities differed significantly. All three host plant taxa harbored AMF communities comprising multiple phylotypes from different fungal lineages. A frequent fungal phylotype from Glomus group B was almost exclusively found in Trifolium spp., suggesting some degree of host preference for this fungus in this habitat. In conclusion, the results indicate that within a relatively small area with similar soil and climatic conditions, the host plant species can have a major influence on the AMF communities within the roots. No evidence was found for a narrowing of the mycosymbiont spectrum in the two green gentians, in contrast to previous findings with their achlorophyllous relatives.