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Carbon allocation in ectomycorrhizal plants at limited optimal N supply: an attempt aat unraveling conflicting theories.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Mycorrhiza
0940-6360
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
Volume
21
Issue
1
Pages
35–51
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00572-010-0309-3
PMID: 20393757
Source
Medline

Abstract

With regard to mycorrhiza, conflicting theories try to explain how the balance between fungal demand for carbohydrates and the plant’s needs for nutrients varies, resulting in conflicting predictions. In order to evaluate current concepts, we investigated some metabolic parameters, which are indicative for plant carbon allocation in response to mycorrhization at limited and optimal N supply. Pinus pinaster seedlings were inoculated with living or dead (control) cultures of Pisolithus tinctorius, supplied with ammonium at 4 (limiting) or 7% d−1 (non-limiting) N relative addition rate (RARN), and followed development for 29 days. Mycorrhizal colonization of roots was quantified by the determination of ergosterol. A series of enzymes (sucrose and trehalose metabolism, anaplerosis) and metabolites (soluble carbohydrate, including trehalose; fructose 2,6 bisphosphate, free amino acids) relevant in the C/N exchange between symbionts, and in the carbon allocation and sink strength within the plant were assayed for 2-day-intervals for up to 14 days, and at 5-day-intervals for the rest of the experiment. The first 10 days reflected the establishment of mycorrhizal interaction, and the carbon allocation to the root was higher in M plants independent of N supply. Following this period, carbon allocation became N-related, higher at low, and lower at high N supply. The belowground C investment of M plants was dependent on N availability, but not on N gain. Finally, increased belowground C allocation was accompanied by a shift from plant to fungal metabolism.

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