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

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Publication details

JournalNew Phytologist
DateAccepted/In press - 28 Nov 2015
DateE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jan 2016
DatePublished (current) - 1 May 2016
Number of pages11
Early online date27/01/16
Original languageEnglish


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.

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© Authors 2016. 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

  • Carbon-phosphorus exchange, cooperation, hyphal exudates, phosphatase activity, AMF-PSB interactions.

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