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An arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus accelerates decomposition and acquires nitrogen directly from organic material

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JournalNature
DatePublished - 20 Sep 2001
Issue number6853
Volume413
Number of pages3
Pages (from-to)297-299
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (order Glomales), which form mycorrhizal symbioses with two out of three of all plant species, are believed to be obligate biotrophs that are wholly dependent on the plant partner for their carbon supply. It is thought that they possess no degradative capability and that they are unable to decompose complex organic molecules, the form in which most soil nutrients occur. Earlier suggestions that they could exist saprotrophically were based on observation of hyphal proliferation on organic materials. In contrast, other mycorrhizal types have been shown to acquire nitrogen directly from organic sources. Here we show that the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis can both enhance decomposition of and increase nitrogen capture from complex organic material (grass leaves) in soil. Hyphal growth of the fungal partner was increased in the presence of the organic material, independently of the host plant.

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© 2001 Macmillan Magazines Ltd

    Research areas

  • ROOT PROLIFERATION, SOIL, BIODIVERSITY, ACQUISITION, ASSOCIATION, DIVERSITY, HYPHAE, INFLOW

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