, Volume 136, Issue 1, pp 41-48

Extension of the phosphorus depletion zone in VA-mycorrhizal white clover in a calcareous soil

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Abstract

To examine the influence of vesicular-arbuscular (VA) mycorrhizal fungi on phosphorus (P) depletion in the rhizosphere, mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal white clover (Trifolium repens L.) were grown for seven weeks in a sterilized calcareous soil in pots with three compartments, a central one for root growth and two outer ones for hyphae growth. Compartmentation was accomplished by a 30-μm nylon net. The root compartment received a uniform level of P (50 mg kg−1 soil) in combination with low or high levels of P (50 or 150 mg kg−1 soil) in the hyphal compartments. Plants were inoculated withGlomus mosseae (Nicol. & Gerd.) Gerd. & Trappe or remained uninfected.

Mycorrhizal inoculation doubled P concentration in shoot and root, and increased dry weight, especially of the shoot, irrespective of P levels. Mycorrhizal contribution accounted for 76% of total P uptake at the low P level and 79% at the high P level, and almost all of this P was delivered by the hyphae from the outer compartment. In the non-mycorrhizal plants, the depletion of NaHCO3-extractable P (Olsen-P) extended about 1 cm into the outer compartment, but in the mycorrhizal plants a uniform P depletion zone extended up to 11.7 cm (the length of the hyphal compartment) from the root surface. In the outer compartment, the mycorrhizal hyphae length density was high (2.5–7 m cm−3 soil) at the various distances (0–11.7 cm) from the root surface. Uptake rate of P by mycorrhizal hyphae was in the range of 3.3–4.3×10−15 mol s−1 cm−1.