Carbon and phosphorus exchange may enable cooperation between an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus and a phosphate-solubilizing bacterium

Lin Zhang, Minggang Xu, Yu Liu, Fusuo Zhang, Angela Hodge, Gu Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) transfer plant photosynthate underground which can stimulate soil microbial growth. In this study, we examined whether there was a potential link between carbon (C) release from an AMF and phosphorus (P) availability via a phosphate solubilizing bacterium (PSB).
We investigated the outcome of the interaction between the AMF and the PSB by conducting a microcosm and two Petri plate experiments. An in vitro culture experiment was also conducted to determine the direct impact of AMF hyphal exudates on growth of the PSB.
The AMF released substantial C to the environment, triggering PSB growth and activity. In return, the PSB enhanced mineralization of organic P, increasing P availability for the AMF.
When soil available P was low, the PSB competed with the AMF for P, and its activity was not stimulated by the fungus. When additional P was added to increase soil available P, the PSB enhanced AMF hyphal growth, and PSB activity was also stimulated by the fungus.
Our results suggest that an AMF and a free-living PSB interacted to the benefit of each other by providing the C or P that the other microorganism required, but these interactions depended upon background P availability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1022-1032
Number of pages11
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number3
Early online date27 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2016

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  • Carbon-phosphorus exchange, cooperation, hyphal exudates, phosphatase activity, AMF-PSB interactions.
  • Carbon-phosphorus exchange
  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF)-phosphate-solubilizing bacterium (PSB) interactions
  • Phosphatase activity
  • Cooperation
  • Hyphal exudates

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