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Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi alleviate arsenic toxicity to Medicago sativa by influencing arsenic speciation and partitioning

Li, Jinglong, Sun, Yuqing, Jiang, Xuelian, Chen, Baodong, Zhang, Xin
Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 2018 v.157 pp. 235-243
Medicago sativa, Rhizophagus irregularis, arsenic, genes, hyphae, metallothionein, methylation, mycorrhizal fungi, nutrition, phosphorus, phytomass, polluted soils, roots, shoots, toxicity, vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae
In a pot experiment, Medicago sativa inoculated with/without arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus Rhizophagus irregularis were grown in four levels (0, 10, 25, and 75 mg/kg) of arsenic (As)-polluted soil to investigate the influences of AM symbiosis on plant As tolerance. The results showed that mycorrhizal inoculation significantly increased plant biomass, while As addition decreased mycorrhizal colonization and hyphal length density. Mycorrhizal inoculation dramatically improved plant phosphorus (P) nutrition, restricted As uptake and retained more As in roots by upregulating the expression of the AM-induced P transporter gene MsPT4 and the metallothionein gene MsMT2. High soil As content downregulated MsPT4 expression. Dimethylarsenic acid (DMA) was detected only in the shoots of mycorrhizal plants, indicating that AM fungi likely play an essential role in As detoxification by biological methylation. The present investigation allowed deeper insights into the As detoxification mechanisms of AM associations and demonstrated the important role of AM fungi in plant resistance under As-contaminated conditions.