Document Detail

Ectomycorrhizal symbiosis can enhance plant nutrition through improved access to discrete organic nutrient patches of high resource quality.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12102534     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
It is known that roots can respond to patches of fertility; however, root proliferation is often too slow to exploit resources fully, and organic nutrient patches may be broken down and leached, immobilized or chemically fixed before they are invaded by the root system. The ability of fungal hyphae to exploit resource patches is far greater than that of roots due to their innate physiological and morphological plasticity, which allows comprehensive exploration and rapid colonization of resource patches in soils. The fungal symbionts of ectomycorrhizal plants excrete significant quantities of enzymes such as chitinases, phosphatases and proteases. These might allow the organic residue to be tapped directly for nutrients such as N and P. Pot experiments conducted with nutrient-stressed ectomycorrhizal and control willow plants showed that when high quality organic nutrient patches were added, they were colonized rapidly by the ectomycorrhizal mycelium. These established willows (0.5 m tall) were colonized by Hebeloma syrjense P. Karst. for 1 year prior to nutrient patch addition. Within days after patch addition, colour changes in the leaves of the mycorrhizal plants (reflecting improved nutrition) were apparent, and after I month the concentration of N and P in the foliage of mycorrhizal plants was significantly greater than that in non-mycorrhizal plants subject to the same nutrient addition. It seems likely that the mycorrhizal plants were able to compete effectively with the wider soil microbiota and tap directly into the high quality organic resource patch via their extra-radical mycelium. We hypothesize that ectomycorrhizal plants may reclaim some of the N and P invested in seed production by direct recycling from failed seeds in the soil. The rapid exploitation of similar discrete, transient, high-quality nutrient patches may have led to underestimations when determining the nutritional benefits of ectomycorrhizal colonization.
M Tibbett; F E Sanders
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Annals of botany     Volume:  89     ISSN:  0305-7364     ISO Abbreviation:  Ann. Bot.     Publication Date:  2002 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-07-09     Completed Date:  2002-08-12     Revised Date:  2009-10-19    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0372347     Medline TA:  Ann Bot     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  783-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Conservation Sciences, Bournemouth University, Poole, Dorset, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Chlorophyll / analysis
Fungi / physiology*,  ultrastructure
Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
Nitrogen / analysis
Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
Phosphorus / analysis
Plant Leaves / chemistry
Plant Roots / chemistry,  microbiology*,  physiology*,  ultrastructure
Symbiosis / physiology*
Reg. No./Substance:
1406-65-1/Chlorophyll; 7723-14-0/Phosphorus; 7727-37-9/Nitrogen

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