, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 315-324
Date: 18 Nov 2009

Relationship between genotype and soil environment during colonization of poplar roots by mycorrhizal and endophytic fungi

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Poplars are among the few tree genera that can develop both ectomycorrhizal (ECM) and arbuscular (AM) associations; however, variable ratios of ECM/AM in dual mycorrhizal colonizations were observed in the roots of a variety of poplar species and hybrids. The objective of our study was to analyze the effect of internal and external factors on growth and dual AM and ECM colonization of poplar roots in three 12–15-year-old common gardens in Poland. We also analyzed the abundance of nonmycorrhizal fungal endophytes in the poplar roots. The Populus clones comprised black poplars (Populus deltoides and P. deltoides × Populus nigra), balsam poplars (Populus maximowiczii × Populus trichocarpa), and a hybrid of black and balsam poplars (P. deltoides × P. trichocarpa). Of the three sites that we studied, one was located in the vicinity of a copper smelter, where soil was contaminated with copper and lead. Poplar root tip abundance, mycorrhizal colonization, and soil fungi biomass were lower at this heavily polluted site. The total mycorrhizal colonization and the ratio of ECM and AM colonization differed among the study sites and according to soil depth. The influence of Populus genotype was significantly pronounced only within the individual study sites. The contribution of nonmycorrhizal fungal endophytes differed among the poplar clones and was higher at the polluted site than at the sites free of pollution. Our results indicate that poplar fine root abundance and AM and ECM symbiosis are influenced by environmental conditions. Further studies of different site conditions are required to characterize the utility of poplars for purposes such as the phytoremediation of polluted sites.