Three leafless pea cultivars (JI 1198, BS 142 and BS 4) with the same phenotype and similar patterns of development, were tested in a sterilized low-phosphate soil for their response to phosphate fertilizer and to vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) infection by threeGlomus species. Cultivar JI 1198 was very responsive to phosphate but not to inoculation withGlomus mosseae, Glomus caledonium orGlomus epigaeum. Phosphate and VAM treatments increased growth of cultivar BS 142 but were ineffective with cultivar BS 4.
Fungal infectivity could not be related with endophyte effectiveness at stimulating plant growth, although the percentage of root length infected by each one of the threeGlomus species did not vary between cultivars. Genetic differences among plant cultivars can thus markedly affect the symbiosis between the host root and VAM fungi; this suggests that potential host-endophyte combinations need to be evaluated before being tested in the field.