How important is the mycorrhizal pathway for plant Zn uptake?

Abstract

Introduction

Formation of arbuscular mycorrhizas can enhance plant uptake of immobile nutrients such as zinc (Zn) and phosphorus (P). Enhancement of Zn uptake by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi on Zn-deficient soils has been studied previously, however, the quantity of Zn that is contributed by the AM pathway of uptake to the plant has not previously been reported for soil of any Zn status.

Methods

We grew a mycorrhiza-defective mutant tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) genotype (rmc) and its mycorrhizal wild-type progenitor (76R) in pots containing a hyphal compartment (HC) accessible only by the external hyphae of AM fungi, and containing the radioisotope 65Zn. This was repeated at three soil Zn concentrations, ranging from low to high. We estimated the amount of Zn delivered via both the AM and direct (root) pathways.

Results

Up to 24 % of Zn in the shoots of the AM plants was delivered via the AM pathway at the lowest soil Zn treatment. This decreased significantly, to 8 %, as soil Zn concentration increased. No 65Zn was detected in the tissues of the non-mycorrhizal genotype.

Conclusions

The relative contribution to shoot Zn by the AM pathway of uptake was highest when soil Zn was low, and decreased with increasing soil Zn concentration.

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Acknowledgments

The authors gratefully acknowledge Rebecca Stonor, Gillian Cozens, Bogumila Tomczak and Jessica Mackay for their excellent technical assistance. We would also like to thank Prof. Sally Smith and Prof. Iver Jakobsen for valuable discussions. TRC acknowledges the ARC for funding his research via the award of a Future Fellowship (FT120100463). SJWW wishes to acknowledge support received from the Monash University Postgraduate Publications Award.

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Correspondence to Timothy R. Cavagnaro.

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Responsible Editor: Peter Christie.

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Watts-Williams, S.J., Smith, F.A., McLaughlin, M.J. et al. How important is the mycorrhizal pathway for plant Zn uptake?. Plant Soil 390, 157–166 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-014-2374-4

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Keywords

  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) uptake
  • Arbuscular mycorrhizas
  • Phosphorus
  • Plant nutrition
  • Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.)
  • Zinc