, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 121-129
Date: 14 Aug 2013

Relationship between genetic variability in Rhizophagus irregularis and tolerance to saline conditions

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Reclamation of saline soils produced by extraction of bitumen from oil sands is challenging. The main objective of this study was to select a salt-tolerant arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal isolate that could, in the future, be used to pre-inoculate plants used in reclamation of saline substrates produced by oil sand industry. To achieve this, the effects of NaCl, Na2SO4, and saline release water from composite tailings (CT) on hyphal growth of two AM fungal isolates from non-saline (Rhizophagus irregularis DAOM 181602, Rhizophagus sp. DAOM 227023) and three isolates of R. irregularis isolated from saline or sodic soils (DAOM 234181, DAOM241558, and DAOM241559) were tested in vitro. Pre-symbiotic hyphal growth of the five isolates, in absence of a host plant, decreased with increasing salt stress and no spores germinated in CT. The symbiotic extraradical phase of the four isolates of R. irregularis developed well in saline media compared to the Rhizophagus sp. Nevertheless, fungal development of the four R. irregularis isolates differed in saline media indicating phenotypic variations between isolates.