Journal cover Journal topic
Web Ecology An open-access peer-reviewed journal
Journal topic
Volume 7, issue 1
Web Ecol., 7, 77-86, 2007
https://doi.org/10.5194/we-7-77-2007
© Author(s) 2007. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Web Ecol., 7, 77-86, 2007
https://doi.org/10.5194/we-7-77-2007
© Author(s) 2007. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  24 Sep 2007

24 Sep 2007

Nutritional effects of indigenous arbuscular mycorrhizal associations on the sclerophyllous species Agathosma betulina

K. J. Cloete1, A. J. Valentine2, L. M. Blomerus3, A. Botha1, and M. A. Pèrez-Fernández4 K. J. Cloete et al.
  • 1Dept. of Microbiology, Univ. of Stellenbosch, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602, South Africa
  • 2South African Herbal Science and Medicine Inst., Faculty of Science, Univ. of the Western Cape, Private Bag X17, Bellville, 7535, South Africa
  • 3Agricultural Research Council-Roodeplaat, Vegetable and Ornamental Plant Inst., Private Bag 5026, Stellenbosch, 7599, South Africa
  • 4Ecology Area, Faculty of Exp. Sciences, Univ. Pablo de Olavide, Carretera a Utrera, 41013, Seville, Spain

Abstract. Relatively little is currently known about the seedling physiology of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) Agathosma betulina, a sclerophyllous crop plant cultivated for its high-value essential oils and food additives. In addition, virtually nothing is known about the AM associations of this plant. Consequently, the effect of an indigenous community of AM fungi on P nutrition and C economy in seedlings, grown in nursery conditions, was determined during different stages of host and AM fungal establishment. AM fungal ribosomal gene sequence analyses were used to identify some of the fungi within the roots, responsible for the nutritional changes. During the early stages of host and AM fungal establishment (0 to 77 days after germination), host growth was reduced, whereas the rate of P-uptake and growth respiration was increased. Beyond 77 days of growth, the rate of P-uptake and growth respiration declined. These findings, together with results obtained after molecular analyses of root associated fungal DNA, indicate that AM fungi belonging to the genera Acaulospora and Glomus, improve P-uptake and costs of utilization during the early stages of seedling establishment in a nutrient-poor soil.

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