Skip to main content

Mycorrhiza response and phosphorus acquisition efficiency of sorghum cultivars differing in strigolactone composition



The function of strigolactone isomers in sorghum phosphorus acquisition efficiency (PAE) is still a matter of speculation. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the effects of cultivar-specific strigolactone composition on sorghum growth indices, responsiveness of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), and PAE.


Two Striga-resistant (orobanchol-producing) and two Striga-susceptible (5-deoxystrigol-producing) sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) cultivars were planted with and without AMF inoculation as well as with and without P fertilization. Growth indices and AMF colonization were measured 30 days after sowing from pot trial plants in a growth chamber.


AMF colonization was highest in Tetron and lowest in IS9830, both Striga-resistant cultivars. Conversely, PAE was lowest in Tetron and highest in IS9830 and revealed strong positive relationships with root length, leaf area and shoot DW.


Although the strigolactone composition had no clear general effects on the growth indices of the four different sorghum cultivars, breeders should consider it for combining efficient AM symbiosis and high PAE values.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. Abou-Amer AI, Kewan KZ (2014) Effect of NP fertilization levels on sorghum (Sorghum bicolor L.) yield and fodder quality for animals. Alex J Agric Res 59:51–59

    Google Scholar 

  2. Akiyama K, Hayashi H (2006) Strigolactones: chemical signals for fungal symbionts and parasitic weeds in plant roots. Ann Bot 97:925–931

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  3. Akiyama K, Matsuzaki K, Hayashi H (2005) Plant sesquiterpenes induce hyphal branching in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Nature 435:824–827

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  4. Akiyama K, Ogasawara S, Ito S, Hayashi H (2010) Structural requirements of strigolactones for hyphal branching in AM fungi. Plant Cell Physiol 51:1104–1117

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  5. Beggi F, Hamidou F, Hash CT, Buerkert A (2016) Effects of early mycorrhization and colonized root length on low-soil-phosphorus resistance of West African pearl millet. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 179:466–471

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Besserer A, Bécard G, Roux C, Séjalon-Delmas N (2009) Role of mitochondria in the response of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to strigolactones. Plant Signal Behav 4:75–77

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  7. Buwalda JG, Goh KM (1982) Host-fungus competition for carbon as a cause of growth depressions in vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal ryegrass. Soil Biol Biochem 14:103–106

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. Cook CE, Whichard LP, Turner B, Wall ME, Egley GH (1966) Germination of witchweed (Striga lutea Lour.): isolation and properties of a potent stimulant. Science 154:1189–1190

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Giovannetti M, Mosse B (1980) An evaluation of techniques for measuring vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizal infection in roots. New Phytol 84:489–500

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Gobena D, Shimels M, Rich PJ, Ruyter-Spira C, Harro Bouwmeester H, Kanuganti S, Mengiste T, Ejeta G (2017) Mutation in sorghum low germination stimulant 1 alters strigolactones and causes Striga resistance. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 114:4471–4476

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. Gomez-Roldan V, Fermas S, Brewer PB, Puech-Pagès V, Dun EA, Pillot JP, Letisse F, Matusova R, Danoun S, Portais JC, Bouwmeester H, Bécard G, Beveridge CA, Rameau C, Rochange SF (2008) Strigolactone inhibition of shoot branching. Nature 455:189–194

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. Gu M, Chen A, Dai X, Liu W, Xu G (2011) How does phosphate status influence the development of the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis? Plant Signal Behav 6:1300–1304

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  13. Hetrick BAD, Wilson GWT, Gill BS, Cox TS (1995) Chromosome location of mycorrhizal responsive genes in wheat. Can J Bot 73:891–897

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Hetrick BAD, Wilson GWT, Todd TC (1996) Mycorrhizal response in wheat cultivars: relationship to phosphorus. Can J Bot 74:19–25

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  15. Johnson D, Leake JR, Read DJ (2005) Liming and nitrogen fertilization affects phosphatase activities, microbial biomass and mycorrhizal colonisation in upland grassland. Plant Soil 271:157–164

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Johnson NC, Graham JH, Smith FA (2008) Functioning of mycorrhizal associations along the mutualism–parasitism continuum. New Phytol 135:575–585

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Khan KS, Joergensen RG (2012) Relationships between P fractions and the microbial biomass in soils under different land use management. Geoderma 173-174:274–281

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. Kleikamp B, Joergensen RG (2006) Evaluation of arbuscular mycorrhiza with symbiotic and nonsymbiotic pea isolines at three sites in the Alentejo, Portugal. J Plant Nutr Soil Sci 169:661–669

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. Koide R, Li M, Lewis J, Irby C (1988) Role of mycorrhizal infection in the growth and reproduction of wild vs. cultivated plants. Oecologia 77:537–543

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  20. Lanfranco L, Fiorilli V, Venice F, Bonfante P (2018) Strigolactones cross the kingdoms: plants, fungi, and bacteria in the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. J Exp Bot 69:2175–2188

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  21. Lendzemo VW, Kuyper TW, Matusova R, Bouwmeester HJ, van Ast A (2007) Colonization by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi of sorghum leads to reduced germination and subsequent attachment and emergence of Striga hermonthica. Plant Signal Behav 2:58–62

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  22. Matusova R, Rani K, Verstappen FWA, Franssen MCR, Beale MH, Bouwmeester HJ (2005) The Strigolactone germination stimulants of the plant-parasitic Striga and Orobanche spp. are derived from the carotenoid pathway. Plant Physiol 139:920–934

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  23. Mayzlish-Gati E, LekKala SP, Resnick N, Wininger S, Bhattacharya C, Lemcoff JH, Kapulnik Y, Koltai H (2010) Strigolactones are positive regulators of light-harvesting genes in tomato. J Exp Bot 61:3129–3136

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  24. Mohemed N, Charnikhova T, Bakker EJ, van Ast A, Babiker AG, Bouwmeester HJ (2016) Evaluation of field resistance to Striga hermonthica (Del.) Benth. in Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench. The relationship with strigolactones. Pest Manag Sci 72:2082–2090

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Nelson N, Yocum CF (2006) Structural and function of photosytems I and II. Annu Rev Plant Biol 57:521–565

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Phillips JM, Hayman DS (1970) Improved procedures for clearing roots and staining parasitic and vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi for rapid assessment of infection. Transact British Mycol Soc 55:158-161

  27. Staehelin C, Xie ZP, Illana A, Vierheilig H (2011) Long-distance transport of signals during symbiosis. Plant Signal Behav 6:372–377

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  28. Umehara M, Hanada A, Yoshida S et al (2008) Inhibition of shoot branching by new terpenoid plant hormones. Nature 455:195–200

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  29. Waldie T, Hayward A, Beveridge CA (2010) Axillary bud outgrowth in herbaceous shoots: how do strigolactones fit into the picture? Plant Mol Biol 73:27–36

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  30. Yoneyama K, Awad AA, Xie X, Yoneyama K, Takeuchi Y (2010) Strigolactones as germination stimulants for root parasitic plants. Plant Cell Physiol 51:1095–1103

    Article  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  31. Yoneyama K, Arakawa R, Ishimoto K, Kim HI, Kisugi T, Xie X, Nomura T, Kanampiu F, Yokota T, Ezawa T, Yoneyama K (2015) Difference in Striga-susceptibility is reflected in strigolactone secretion profile, but not in compatibility and host preference in arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis in two maize cultivars. New Phytol 206:983–989

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  32. Zeglin LH, Stursova M, Sinsabaugh RL, Collins SL (2007) Microbial responses to nitrogen addition in three contrasting grassland ecosystems. Oecologia 154:349–359

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Zhu YG, Smith SE, Smith FA (2001) Zinc (Zn)-phosphorus (P) interactions in two cultivars of spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) differing in P uptake efficiency. Ann Bot 88:941–945

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


We would like to thank Gabriele Dormann and Larissa Krause for their excellent laboratory assistance as well as Benjamin Bayerle and Leonard Theisgen for help with the experiment. This project was supported by the Volkswagen foundation providing a grant to Tilal Abdelhalim.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rainer Georg Joergensen.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Responsible Editor: Thom W. Kuyper.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Abdelhalim, T., Jannoura, R. & Joergensen, R.G. Mycorrhiza response and phosphorus acquisition efficiency of sorghum cultivars differing in strigolactone composition. Plant Soil 437, 55–63 (2019).

Download citation


  • Sorghum
  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • Strigolactones
  • Orobanchol
  • 5-deoxystrigol
  • P acquisition efficiency