, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 119-124

Manganese reduction in the rhizosphere of mycorrhizal and nonmycorrhizal maize

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The influence of rhizosphere microorganisms and vesicular-arbuscular (VA) mycorrhiza on manganese (Mn) uptake in maize (Zea mays L. cv. Tau) plants was studied in pot experiments under controlled environmental conditions. The plants were grown for 7 weeks in sterilized calcareous soil in pots having separate compartments for growth of roots and of VA mycorrhizal fungal hyphae. The soil was left either uninoculated (control) or prior to planting was inoculated with rhizosphere microorganisms only (MO-VA) or with rhizosphere microorganisms together with a VA mycorrhizal fungus [Glomus mosseae (Nicol and Gerd.) Gerdemann and Trappe] (MO+VA). Mycorrhiza treatment did not affect shoot dry weight, but root dry weight was slightly inhibited in the MO+VA and MO-VA treatments compared with the uninoculated control. Concentrations of Mn in shoots decreased in the order MO-VA > MO+VA > control. In the rhizosphere soil, the total microbial population was higher in mycorrhizal (MO+VA) than nonmycorrhizal (MO-VA) treatments, but the proportion of Mn-reducing microbial populations was fivefold higher in the nonmycorrhizal treatment, suggesting substantial qualitative changes in rhizosphere microbial populations upon root infection with the mycorrhizal fungi. The most important microbial group taking part in the reduction of Mn was fluorescent Pseudomonas. Mycorrhizal treatment decreased not only the number of Mn reducers but also the release of Mn-solubilizing root exudates, which were collected by percolation from maize plants cultivated in plastic tubes filled with gravel quartz sand. Compared with mycorrhizal plants, the root exudates of nonmycorrhizal plants had two fold higher capacity for reduction of Mn. Therefore, changes in both rhizosphere microbial population and root exudation are probably responsible for the lower acquisition of Mn in mycorrhizal plants.