, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 191–200 | Cite as

Transport of nitrogen and zinc to rhodes grass by arbuscular mycorrhiza and roots as affected by different nitrogen sources (NH4 +-N and NO3 -N)

  • Marie Franҫoise Seck-Mbengue
  • Anja MüllerEmail author
  • Benard Ngwene
  • Elke Neumann
  • Eckhard George


We investigated the effect of mineral nitrogen forms on transfer of nitrogen (N) and zinc (Zn) from attached compartments to rhodes grass (Chloris gayana) colonised with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). After being pre-cultivated in substrates with adequate nutrient supply and either AMF inoculated (+AM) or left non-inoculated (−AM), rhodes grass was positioned adjacent to an outer compartment holding a similar substrate but applied with labelled nitrogen (15N) either as ammonium (NH4 +) or nitrate (NO3 ), and a high supply of Zn (150 mg kg−1 DS). Plant roots together with fungal mycelium were either allowed to explore the outer compartment (with root access) or only mycorrhizal hyphae were allowed (without root access). Within each access treatment, biomasses of rhodes grass were not significantly affected by AMF inoculation or N form. AMF contribution to plant 15N uptake was about double in NH4 + compared with NO3 -supplied treatments while the mycorrhizal influence on plant Zn uptake was insignificant. Without root access, the shoot 15N/Zn concentration ratio was up to ten-fold higher in +AM than –AM treatments and this ratio increase was clearly more pronounced in NH4 + than NO3 -supplied treatments. In conclusion, rhodes grass in symbiosis with the tested AMF acquired more N when supplied with ammonium. Moreover, there is clear indication that although the AMF have transported both nutrients (N and Zn), N was preferentially transferred as compared to Zn. We confirmed that, while rhodes grass is not able to prevent excessive Zn uptake via roots under conditions of high Zn, mycorrhiza is able to avoid excessive Zn supply to the host plant when the fungus alone has access to contaminated patches.


Arbuscular mycorrhiza Ammonium Nitrate Mycorrhizal nutrient uptake Chloris gayana (Rhodes grass) 



This work was financed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie Franҫoise Seck-Mbengue
    • 1
    • 2
  • Anja Müller
    • 1
    Email author
  • Benard Ngwene
    • 1
  • Elke Neumann
    • 3
  • Eckhard George
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Leibniz Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental Crops GrossbeerenGrossbeerenGermany
  2. 2.Department of Crop and Animal Sciences, Plant NutritionHumboldt UniversityBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Faculty of Food and Agriculture / Department of Aridland AgricultureUnited Arab Emirates UniversityAl-AinUnited Arab Emirates

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