A comparison of the development and metabolic activity of mycorrhizas formed by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi from different genera on two tropical forage legumes
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Two glasshouse experiments were done to assess the development and metabolic activity of mycorrhizas formed by isolates of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) from three different genera, Acaulospora, Gigaspora and Glomus on either Pueraria phaseoloides L. or Desmodium ovalifolium L. plants. The second of the two experiments included three levels of a localised phosphate source in the pots. Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), stained histochemically in the intra-radical mycelium (IRM) of AMF over sequential harvests, did not provide a direct marker for the efficiency of AMF in mobilising phosphorus (P) for plant growth and development. The ability of the extra-radical mycelium (ERM) to scavenge a localised phosphate source, determined by its extraction from buried 35-μm mesh pouches, was dependent on the species of AMF tested. This work indicates that AMF from different genera have unique patterns of mycelial development when forming mycorrhizas with tropical hosts in the presence of a localised phosphate source. AMF also appear to have different mechanisms for the control of P transfer, within the mycelium, to the host. The significance of the architecture of the ERM is discussed as well as the localisation of ALP in the IRM in determining the efficiency of AMF in terms of P accumulation in planta and subsequent growth of plants.
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