, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 1–14 | Cite as

The cultivation bias: different communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi detected in roots from the field, from bait plants transplanted to the field, and from a greenhouse trap experiment

  • Zuzana Sýkorová
  • Kurt Ineichen
  • Andres Wiemken
  • Dirk RedeckerEmail author
Original Paper


The community composition of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) was investigated in roots of four different plant species (Inula salicina, Medicago sativa, Origanum vulgare, and Bromus erectus) sampled in (1) a plant species-rich calcareous grassland, (2) a bait plant bioassay conducted directly in that grassland, and (3) a greenhouse trap experiment using soil and a transplanted whole plant from that grassland as inoculum. Roots were analyzed by AMF-specific nested polymerase chain reaction, restriction fragment length polymorphism screening, and sequence analyses of rDNA small subunit and internal transcribed spacer regions. The AMF sequences were analyzed phylogenetically and used to define monophyletic phylotypes. Overall, 16 phylotypes from several lineages of AMF were detected. The community composition was strongly influenced by the experimental approach, with additional influence of cultivation duration, substrate, and host plant species in some experiments. Some fungal phylotypes, e.g., GLOM-A3 (Glomus mosseae) and several members of Glomus group B, appeared predominantly in the greenhouse experiment or in bait plants. Thus, these phylotypes can be considered r strategists, rapidly colonizing uncolonized ruderal habitats in early successional stages of the fungal community. In the greenhouse experiment, for instance, G. mosseae was abundant after 3 months, but could not be detected anymore after 10 months. In contrast, other phylotypes as GLOM-A17 (G. badium) and GLOM-A16 were detected almost exclusively in roots sampled from plants naturally growing in the grassland or from bait plants exposed in the field, indicating that they preferentially occur in late successional stages of fungal communities and thus represent the K strategy. The only phylotype found with high frequency in all three experimental approaches was GLOM A-1 (G. intraradices), which is known to be a generalist. These results indicate that, in greenhouse trap experiments, it is difficult to establish a root-colonizing AMF community reflecting the diversity of these fungi in the field roots because fungal succession in such artificial systems may bias the results. However, the field bait plant approach might be a convenient way to study the influence of different environmental factors on AMF community composition directly under the field conditions. For a better understanding of the dynamics of AMF communities, it will be necessary to classify AMF phylotypes and species according to their life history strategies.


Arbuscular mycorrhiza Molecular diversity rDNA Life history strategy Cultivation systems 



We would like to thank S. Appoloni, S. Agten, and T. Gross for conducting some lab and field work, B. Börstler for analyzing several FS and critical reading of the manuscript, I. Hijri, P. Raab, and F. Oehl for practical advice, O. Thiéry for critical reading of the manuscript, I. Jansová and T. Wohlgemuth for advice with multivariate analyses, T. Brodbeck for help with plant identification, and G. Busco for cutting the BP assay bottles. This work was funded by grants by the Swiss National Science Foundation (D.R.) and also supported in part by a scholarship given by the Freiwillige Akademische Gesellschaft, Basel to Z.S.

Supplementary material

572_2007_147_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.5 mb)
Supplementary Tables and Figures (DOC 1.6 mb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zuzana Sýkorová
    • 1
  • Kurt Ineichen
    • 1
  • Andres Wiemken
    • 1
  • Dirk Redecker
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of BotanyUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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