Plant and Soil

, Volume 345, Issue 1–2, pp 325–338 | Cite as

Arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis on serpentine soils: the effect of native fungal communities on different Knautia arvensis ecotypes

  • Pavla Doubková
  • Jan Suda
  • Radka Sudová
Regular Article


Serpentine soils represent a unique environment that imposes multiple stresses on vegetation (low Ca/Mg ratios, macronutrient deficiencies, elevated heavy metal concentrations and drought). Under these conditions, a substantial role of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis can be anticipated due to its importance for plant nutrition and stress alleviation. We tested whether serpentine and non-serpentine populations of Knautia arvensis (Dipsacaceae) differ in the benefits derived from native AM fungal communities. Four serpentine and four non-serpentine populations were characterised in terms of mycorrhizal colonisation and soil characteristics. The serpentine populations showed significantly lower mycorrhizal colonisation than their non-serpentine counterparts. The mycorrhizal colonisation positively correlated with soil pH, Ca and K concentrations and Ca/Mg ratio. Seedlings from each population were then grown for 3 months in their sterilised native substrates, either uninoculated or reinoculated with native AM fungi. Two serpentine and two non-serpentine populations responded positively to mycorrhizal inoculation, while no significant change in plant growth was observed in the remaining populations. Contrary to our hypothesis, serpentine populations of K. arvensis did not show higher mycorrhizal growth dependence than non-serpentine populations when grown in their native soils and inoculated with native AM fungi.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi Ca/Mg ratio Edaphic stress Nickel Mycorrhizal colonisation Ploidy level Serpentine 



Arbuscular mycorrhiza, arbuscular mycorrhizal


Cation exchange capacity




Dry weight


Mycorrhizal growth dependence




Principal component analysis




Standard error of the mean



Financial support of the Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (project KJB600050812 to R.S.) and the Grant Agency of Charles University (project 13409 to P.D.) is gratefully acknowledged. Additional support was provided by the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic within the institutional research programme (AV0Z 60050516) and by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (project MSM0021620828). The authors are grateful to M. Albrechtová and her team from the Analytical Laboratory of the Institute of Botany AS CR for the chemical analyses of plant biomass and soils. Sincere thanks are due to F. Kolář and M. Štech for providing information on K. arvensis localities and to P. Trávníček and Z. Sýkorová for their kind advice on the ordination analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of BotanyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicPrůhoniceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Experimental Plant Biology, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePrague 2Czech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Botany, Faculty of ScienceCharles University in PraguePrague 2Czech Republic

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