Colonization of roots by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi using different sources of inoculum
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Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) form a number of different infective propagules that are used to form new mycorrhizal associations. These are spores, extraradical hyphae and infected roots. However, not all fungi are equally capable of colonizing roots with all of the above-mentioned propagules and there is conflicting evidence of major differences in colonization strategy between members of the Glomineae and Gigasporineae. In this study, we tested the abilities of eight fungal species from four different genera to colonize roots using three different types of inoculum. Glomus and Acaulospora isolates colonized from all inoculum types, whereas Gigaspora and Scutellospora isolates colonized mainly from spores and to a limited degree from root fragments. Extraradical hyphae were not suitable propagules for the species of Gigaspora and Scutellospora tested. This indicates that AMF have different colonization strategies and that this is largely differentiated at the suborder level. It is unclear why there is such a difference among the fungi in inoculum types. Future research should examine differences in the anatomy and physiology to discern a mechanism for such differences in life-history strategies.
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