Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Arbuscular mycorrhizas enhance plant interception of leached nutrients

Hamid Reza Asghari A and Timothy Richard Cavagnaro B C D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Faculty of Agriculture, Shahrood University of Technology, Shahrood, Iran.

B School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Clayton, Vic. 3800, Australia.

C Australian Centre for Biodiversity, Monash University, Clayton, Vic. 3800, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: timothy.cavagnaro@monash.edu

Functional Plant Biology 38(3) 219-226 https://doi.org/10.1071/FP10180
Submitted: 28 August 2010  Accepted: 22 December 2010   Published: 29 March 2011

Abstract

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can increase plant growth and nutrition. However, their capacity to reduce the leaching of nutrients through the soil profile is less well understood. Here we present results of an experiment in which the effects of forming arbuscular mycorrhizas (AM) on plant growth and nutrition, nutrient depletion from soil, and nutrient leaching, were investigated in microcosms containing the grass Phalaris aquatica L. Mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plants were grown in a mixture of riparian soil and sand under glasshouse conditions. The formation of AM by P. aquatica significantly increased plant growth and nutrient uptake. Lower levels of NO3, NH4+ and plant available P in both soil and leachate were observed in columns containing mycorrhizal root systems. These differences in nutrient interception were proportionally greater than the increase in root biomass of the mycorrhizal plants, compared with their non-mycorrhizal counterparts. Taken together, these data indicate that mycorrhizal root systems have an important, but previously little considered, role to play reducing the net loss of nutrients via leaching.

Additional keywords: AM, nutrient leaching, Phalaris aquatica, riparian zones.


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