Onion plants (Allium cepa L, cv. Downing Yellow Globe) grown in pots and infected by the mycorrhizal fungusGlomus etunicatus Becker and Gerdemann were more drought tolerant than were non-mycorrhizal individials when exposed to several periods of soil water stress separated by periods of high water supply, as shown by greater fresh and dry weights and higher tissue phosphorus levels in the mycorrhizal plants. The tissues of stressed, non-mycorrhizal plants were deficient in P, despite the fact that only non-mycorrhizal plants were fertilized with high levels of P (26 mg P per 440 g soil). Differences in plant water relations (leaf water potentials or transpiration rates) and changes in soil P levels which may have affected plant growth were investigated, and discounted as factors important for the results. The P nutrition of plants has been implicated in the ability of plants to tolerate drought and it was concluded that the ability of the mycorrhizal fungus to maintain adequate P nutrition in the onions during soil water stress was a major factor in the improved drought tolerance. Infection of the root by the fungus was found not to be affected by water stress or P fertilization but fungal reproduction, as determined by spore numbers in the soil, was decreased by water stress and by P fertilization.
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Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station Article No. 10050
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Nelsen, C.E., Safir, G.R. Increased drought tolerance of mycorrhizal onion plants caused by improved phosphorus nutrition. Planta 154, 407–413 (1982). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01267807
- Phosphorus nutrition
- Water stress