, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp 553-558
Date: 11 Oct 2006

Zinc-tolerant Suillus bovinus improves growth of Zn-exposed Pinus sylvestris seedlings

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Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seedlings inoculated or not (NM) by a Zn-sensitive or a Zn-tolerant isolate of the ectomycorrhizal fungus Suillus bovinus (L. Fr.) Roussel were exposed to 0.1 or 150 μM Zn2+ for 9 months. We hypothesized that inoculation with a Zn-tolerant S. bovinus isolate should result in added Zn resistance of the host plant. Plant and fungal growth as well as nutrient profiles and photosynthetic pigments in pine needles were quantified. In NM plants and in plants colonized by the Zn-sensitive isolate, plant growth, N, P, Mg and Fe assimilation were strongly inhibited under Zn stress and concurred with significantly reduced chlorophyll concentrations. In contrast, plants colonized by the Zn-tolerant isolate grew much better and remained physiologically healthier when exposed to elevated Zn. These results provide further evidence for the important role metal-adapted mycorrhizal fungi play as an effective biological barrier against metal toxicity in trees.