Shoot specific fungal endophytes alter soil phosphorus (P) fractions and potential acid phosphatase activity but do not increase P uptake in tall fescue
An experiment was performed to test how different fungal endophyte strains influenced tall fescue’s ability to access P from four P sources varying in solubility.
Novel endophyte infected (AR542E+ or AR584E+), common toxic endophyte infected (CTE+), or endophyte-free (E-) tall fescues were grown for 90 days in acidic soils amended with 30 mg kg−1 P of potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KH2PO4), iron phosphate (FePO4), aluminum phosphate (AlPO4), or tricalcium phosphate ((Ca3(PO4)2), respectively.
Phosphorus form strongly influenced plant biomass, P acquisition, agronomic P use efficiency, microbial communities, P fractions. P uptake and vegetative biomass were similar for plants grown with AlPO4, Ca3(PO4)2, and KH2PO4 but greater than in control and FePO4 soils. Infection with AR542E+ resulted in significantly less shoot biomass than CTE+ and E- varieties; there was no influence of endophyte on root biomass. The biomarker for arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM fungi, 16:1ω5c) was selected as an effective predictor of variations in P uptake and tall fescue biomass. Potential acid phosphatase activity was strongly influenced by endophyte x P form interaction.
Endophyte infection in tall fescue significantly affected the NaOH-extractable inorganic P fraction, but had little detectable influence on soil microbial community structure, root biomass, or P uptake.
KeywordsNeotyphodium coenophialum Epichloë coenophiala Microbial community Phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) Phosphorus fractions Potential acid phosphatase activity (AcPase)
We thank Dr. Mark S. Coyne for helpful comments on this manuscript. We also thank collaborators at the Noble Foundation for providing the seed gifts. This work was financially supported by National Research Initiative no. 2011-67019-30392 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
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