, Volume 165, Issue 1, pp 81-88

Effect of elevated CO2 on mycorrhizal colonization of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) seedlings

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Interactive effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 and phosphorus supply on mycorrhizal colonization rates were investigated using loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) seedlings from Florida and coastal North Carolina. Seedlings from both populations were grown in greenhouses maintained at either 35.5 Pa or 71.0 Pa CO2. In both CO2 treatments, seedlings were grown in a full factorial experiment with or without mycorrhizal inoculum and with an adequate or a limiting supply of phosphorus. Seedlings were harvested 60, 90 and 120 days after emergence and at each harvest root subsamples were examined to determine the percent of fine roots that were mycorrhizal. Additionally, root carbohydrate and nutrient levels were measured at each harvest. Root starch, sugar and total non-structural carbohydrate (TNC) concentrations were increased by growth in elevated CO2 and decreased by mycorrhizal colonization. Phosphorus stress decreased root starch concentrations, increased root sugar concentrations and did not significantly affect TNC concentrations. However, despite significant effects on root carbohydrate levels, there were generally no significant treatment effects on mycorrhizal colonization. Additionally, at all harvests, root starch and sugar concentrations were not correlated with percent of fine roots that were mycorrhizal. These results suggest that although elevated CO2 may significantly increase root carbohydrate levels, the increases may not affect the percent of fine roots that are mycorrhizal.