Spatiotemporal transfer of carbon-14-labelled photosynthate from ectomycorrhizal Pinus densiflora seedlings to extraradical mycelia
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Seedlings of Pinus densiflora colonized by an unidentified ectomycorrhizal fungus (T01) were labelled photosynthetically with 14C. Movement of 14C-labelled photosynthates within the underground part of the seedlings was investigated by temporal autoradiography using an imaging plate. Within 1 day, 14C was transferred from the shoot to the underground part that included roots, mycorrhizae, and the extraradical mycelium; within 3 days, the 14C in the underground part reached its maximum density. Mycorrhizae and actively growing root tips were large C sinks. Three days after 14C labelling, counts of 14C radioactivity in the underground part of the mycorrhizal seedlings were 2.6 times those of nonmycorrhizal seedlings. The mycorrhizae of mycorrhizal plants accumulated 5.2 times the 14C counts in the short-root tips of nonmycorrhizal plants. 14C counts in various areas of the extraradical mycelium demonstrated that all 14C-photosynthate transfer from the host root to the extraradical mycelium occurred within 3 days after 14C labelling, and that there was only a short lag of <1 day between 14C accumulation in the basal and distal parts of the mycelium. Although more 14C accumulated in the distal than in the basal parts, 14C counts per unit hyphal biomass were similar between the two. These results suggest that 14C spread rapidly throughout the entire mycelium. Thirteen days after 14C labelling, we estimated 14C allocation to extraradical mycelia by taking autoradiographs after removing host roots. About 24% of 14C counts in the underground part of the mycorrhizal seedlings had been allocated to extraradical mycelia in this system, indicating that the fugal mycelium is an important sink for photosynthates.
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