By the same authors

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Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi can transfer substantial amounts of nitrogen to their host plant from organic material

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Publication details

JournalNew Phytologist
DateAccepted/In press - 2 Aug 2008
DateE-pub ahead of print - 22 Sep 2008
DatePublished (current) - Jan 2009
Issue number1
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)199-207
Early online date22/09/08
Original languageEnglish


Nitrogen (N) capture by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi from organic material is a recently discovered phenomenon. This study investigated the ability of two Glomus species to transfer N from organic material to host plants and examined whether the ability to capture N is related to fungal hyphal growth.

Experimental microcosms had two compartments; these contained either a single plant of Plantago lanceolata inoculated with Glomus hoi or Glomus intraradices, or a patch of dried shoot material labelled with N-15 and (13)carbon (C). In one treatment, hyphae, but not roots, were allowed access to the patch; in the other treatment, access by both hyphae and roots was prevented.

When allowed, fungi proliferated in the patch and captured N but not C, although G. intraradices transferred more N than G. hoi to the plant. Plants colonized with G. intraradices had a higher concentration of N than controls.

Up to one-third of the patch N was captured by the AM fungi and transferred to the plant, while c. 20% of plant N may have been patch derived. These findings indicate that uptake from organic N could be important in AM symbiosis for both plant and fungal partners and that some AM fungi may acquire inorganic N from organic sources.

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© Authors, 2008. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details

    Research areas

  • arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, Glomus hoi, Glomus intraradices, nitrogen, organic material, soil heterogeneity, stable isotopes C-13 and N-15, TRIFOLIUM-SUBTERRANEUM L, EXTERNAL HYPHAE, GLOMUS-MOSSEAE, ROOT PROLIFERATION, PHOSPHORUS INFLOW, RICH PATCHES, SOIL, TRANSPORT, GROWTH, DECOMPOSITION

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