Extraradical development and contribution to plant performance of an arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis exposed to complete or partial rootzone drying.
Sweet potato plants were grown with or without Glomus intraradices in split-root pots with adjacent root compartments containing a soil with a low availability of phosphate. One fungal tube, from which root growth was excluded, was inserted into each root compartment. During 4 weeks before harvest, the soil moisture level in either both or only one of the two root-compartments of each pot was decreased. Controls remained well watered. Low soil moisture generally had a negative effect on the amount of extraradical mycelium of G. intraradices extracted from the fungal tubes. Sporulation in the fungal tubes was much higher compared with the soil in the root compartment, but remained unaffected by the soil moisture regime. Concentrations of P in extraradical mycelium were much lower than usually found in plants and fungi, while P concentrations in associated mycorrhizal host plant tissues were in an optimum range. This suggests efficient transfer of P from the extraradical mycelium to the host plant. Despite the negative effect of a low soil moisture regime on extraradical G. intraradices development, the symbiosis indeed contributed significantly to P uptake of plants exposed to partial rootzone drying. The possibility that extraradical arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal development was limited by P availability under dry soil conditions is discussed.
Neumann, E.; Schmid, B.; Römheld, V.; George, E. 2009. Extraradical development and contribution to plant performance of an arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis exposed to complete or partial rootzone drying. Mycorrhiza 20, 13-23.