, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 113–123 | Cite as

Response of endangered plant species to inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and soil bacteria

  • Szymon Zubek
  • Katarzyna Turnau
  • Merope Tsimilli-Michael
  • Reto J. Strasser
Original Paper


Three endangered plant species, Plantago atrata and Pulsatilla slavica, which are on the IUCN red list of plants, and Senecio umbrosus, which is extinct in the wild in Poland, were inoculated with soil microorganisms to evaluate their responsiveness to inoculation and to select the most effective microbial consortium for application in conservation projects. Individuals of these taxa were cultivated with (1) native arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) isolated from natural habitats of the investigated species, (2) a mixture of AMF strains available in the laboratory, and (3) a combination of AMF lab strains with rhizobacteria. The plants were found to be dependent on AMF for their growth; the mycorrhizal dependency for P. atrata was 91%, S. umbrosus-95%, and P. slavica-65%. The applied inocula did not significantly differ in the stimulation of the growth of P. atrata and S. umbrosus, while in P. slavica, native AMF proved to be the less efficient. We therefore conclude that AMF application can improve the ex situ propagation of these three threatened taxa and may contribute to the success of S. umbrosus reintroduction. A multilevel analysis of chlorophyll a fluorescence transients by the JIP test permitted an in vivo evaluation of plant vitality in terms of biophysical parameters quantifying photosynthetic energy conservation, which was found to be in good agreement with the results concerning physiological parameters. Therefore, the JIP test can be used to evaluate the influence of AMF on endangered plants, with the additional advantage of being applicable in monitoring in a noninvasive way the acclimatization of reintroduced species in nature.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) Ex situ propagation IUCN red list plants JIP test OJIP fluorescence transient Rhizosphere bacteria co-inoculation 



The present research was financially supported by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Project No. 2 P04G 00628 (2005–2006), and the Jagiellonian University funds DS/758/UJ. Support by the Swiss National Science Foundation, Project Nr: 200021-116765, to M.T.-M. and R.J.S. is acknowledged. The authors thank Prof. H. Bothe and Dr. U. Hildebrandt (Institute of Botany, University of Cologne) for providing us with the bacterial strains. Prof. H. Piękoś-Mirkowa, M. Pacyna, M.Sc. Eng. A. Delimat, and M.Sc. Eng. E. Walusiak (Institute of Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Kraków) are acknowledged for providing us with the seeds of threatened taxa and for their useful remarks concerning plant cultivation. We are also grateful to the authorities of the Tatra National Park (TPN) for the permission for soil samples collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Szymon Zubek
    • 1
    • 3
  • Katarzyna Turnau
    • 1
  • Merope Tsimilli-Michael
    • 2
  • Reto J. Strasser
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental SciencesJagiellonian UniversityKrakowPoland
  2. 2.Bioenergetics LaboratoryUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Pharmaceutical Botany, Faculty of PharmacyJagiellonian University Collegium MedicumKrakowPoland

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