Plant and Soil

, Volume 189, Issue 2, pp 303–319 | Cite as

Do ectomycorrhizal fungi exhibit adaptive tolerance to potentially toxic metals in the environment ?

  • Jeanette Hartley
  • John W.G. Cairney
  • Andrew A. Meharg


The effects of potentially toxic metals on ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi and their higher plant hosts are examined in this review. Investigations at a species and community level have revealed wide inter- and intraspecific variation in sensitivity to metals. Adaptive and constitutive mechanisms of ECM tolerance are proposed and discussed in relation to proven tolerance mechanisms in bacteria, yeasts and plants. Problems with methodology and research priorities are highlighted. These include the need for a detailed understanding of the genetic basis of tolerance in the ECM symbiosis, and for studies of ECM community dynamics in polluted sites.

ectomycorrhizae genetic variation metal tolerance physiological mechanisms 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeanette Hartley
    • 1
    • 2
  • John W.G. Cairney
    • 3
  • Andrew A. Meharg
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Monks Wood, HuntingdonCambridgeshireUK
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of Western Sydney, NepeanKingswoodAustralia

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