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Interactions between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and non-host Carex capillacea

Zhang, Haibo, Qin, Zefeng, Chu, Yanan, Li, Xiaolin, Christie, Peter, Zhang, Junling, Gai, Jingping
Mycorrhiza 2019 v.29 no.2 pp. 149-157
Carex, Medicago sativa, Rhizophagus intraradices, environmental factors, growth chambers, host plants, inoculum, mycorrhizal fungi, phosphorus, soil, vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae
A topic of confusion over the interactions between arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi and plants is the mycorrhizal status of some plant families such as Cyperaceae, which is generally considered to be non-mycorrhizal. Here, we conducted experiments to explore how the abiotic environmental conditions and AM network influence the interactions between AM fungi and Carex capillacea. We grew Carex capillacea alone or together with a mycorrhizal host species Medicago sativa in the presence or absence of AM fungi (soil inoculum from Mount Segrila and Rhizophagus intraradices from the Chinese Bank of the Glomeromycota, BGC). Plants were grown in a growth chamber and at two elevational sites of Mount Segrila, respectively. The results indicate that mycorrhizal host plants ensured the presence of an active AM fungal network whether under growth chamber or alpine conditions. The AM fungal network significantly depressed the growth of C. capillacea, especially when native inocula were used and the plants grew under alpine site conditions, although root colonization of C. capillacea increased in most cases. Moreover, the colonization level of C. capillacea was much higher (≤ 30%) when growing under alpine conditions compared with growth chamber conditions (< 8.5%). Up to 20% root colonization by Rhizophagus intraradices was observed in monocultures under alpine conditions. A significant negative relationship was found between shoot phosphorus concentrations in M. sativa and shoot dry mass of C. capillacea. These results indicate that growing conditions, AM network, and inoculum source are all important factors affecting the susceptibility of C. capillacea to AM fungi, and growing conditions might be a key driver of the interactions between AM fungi and C. capillacea.