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The influence of mycorrhizal associations on paper birch and jack pine seedlings when exposed to elevated copper, nickel or aluminum


Acid deposition may adversely affect northern forest ecosystems by increasing the concentration of metals in the soil solution. This study investigates the effects of ectomycorrhizal fungi on paper birch and jack pine seedlings exposed to elevated Cu, Ni, or Al in sand culture. One of four mycorrhizal fungi,Scleroderma flavidum, was able to reduce Ni toxicity to the birch seedlings. It did this by reducing transport of Ni to the stems. None of the fungi affected Cu toxicity in birch. In separate experiments, jack pine seedlings were exposed to combinations of Al and Ca. Infection withRhizopogon rubescens increased seedling susceptibility to A1. Seedlings inoculated withSuillus tomentosus showed a greater growth stimulation by Ca than uninoculated jack pines. Thus, for both tree species, the mycorrhizal association could alter the response of seedlings to high concentrations of certain metals, although this varied with fungal species.

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Jones, M.D., BRowning, M.H.R. & Hutchinson, T.C. The influence of mycorrhizal associations on paper birch and jack pine seedlings when exposed to elevated copper, nickel or aluminum. Water Air Soil Pollut 31, 441–448 (1986).

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