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Drought Tolerance and Antioxidant Activities in Lavender Plants Colonized by Native Drought-tolerant or Drought-sensitive Glomus Species


This study compared the effectiveness of four arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal isolates (two autochthonous presumably drought-tolerant Glomus sp and two allochthonous presumably drought-sensitive strains) on a drought-adapted plant (Lavandula spica) growing under drought conditions. The autochthonous AM fungal strains produced a higher lavender biomass, specially root biomass, and a more efficient N and K absorption than with the inoculation of similar allochthonous strains under drought conditions. The autochthonous strains of Glomus intraradices and Glomus mosseae increased root growth by 35% and 100%, respectively, when compared to similar allochthonous strains. These effects were concomitant with an increase in water content and a decline in antioxidant compounds: 25% glutathione, 7% ascorbate and 15% H2O2 by G. intraradices, and 108% glutathione, 26% ascorbate and 43% H2O2 by G. mosseae. Glutathione and ascorbate have an important role in plant protection and metabolic function under water deficit; the low cell accumulation of these compounds in plants colonized by autochthonous AM fungal strains is an indication of high drought tolerance. Non-significant differences between antioxidant activities such as glutathione reductase (GR), catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in colonized plants were found. Thus, these results do not allow the generalization that GR, CAT and SOD were correlated with the symbiotic efficiency of these AM fungi on lavender drought tolerance. Plants colonized by allochthonous G. mosseae (the less efficient strain under drought conditions) had less N and K content than those colonized by similar autochthonous strain. These ions play a key role in osmoregulation. The AM symbiosis by autochthonous adapted strains also produced the highest intraradical and arbuscular development and extraradical mycelial having the greatest fungal SDH and ALP-ase activities in the root systems. Inoculation of autochthonous drought tolerant fungal strains is an important strategy that assured the greatest tolerance water stress contributing to the best lavender growth under drought.

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This study was supported by GLO FEDER-National Plan (REN2003-00968). A. M. acknowledges AECI for financial support through a MAE Fellowship. We thank Dra. C. Lluch Plá and her group for the help in the determination of antioxidant activities, C. Cano who give inoculants of fungi AM from de E.E.Z collection and R. Aroca, R. Blanco, and F. Jahromi for correcting the English text.

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Correspondence to R. Azcón.

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Marulanda, A., Porcel, R., Barea, J.M. et al. Drought Tolerance and Antioxidant Activities in Lavender Plants Colonized by Native Drought-tolerant or Drought-sensitive Glomus Species. Microb Ecol 54, 543 (2007).

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  • Glutathione Reductase
  • Autochthonous
  • Volumetric Soil Moisture
  • Extraradical Mycelium
  • Plant Water Uptake