Plant nitrogen capture from organic matter as affected by spatial dispersion, interspecific competition and mycorrhizal colonization

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Abstract

The capture of nitrogen (N) by plants from N-rich complex organic material differing in spatial (uniform dispersion or discrete patches) heterogeneity was measured, as well as the subsequent impact on N capture of the addition of a mycorrhizal inoculum (Glomus hoi).

The organic material was dual-labelled with N-15 and C-13 to follow plant uptake of N (as N-15) and to determine the amounts of original C-13 and N-15 which remained in the soil at harvest. The organic material was added to microcosm units containing Lolium perenne or Plantago lanceolata in intra or interspecific competition.

Plant N capture from the dispersed organic material was more than twice that from the discrete patch (dispersed: 17%; discrete: 8%). There was no effect of species composition or the mycorrhizal inoculum on total plant N capture except when in interspecific plant competition. Here, N capture was dependent on the root length produced and was always higher when the mycorrhizal inoculum was present.

Mycorrhizal colonization increased N capture from the organic material when in interspecific plant competition but not in monoculture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-314
Number of pages12
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume157
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003

Bibliographical note

Open access copy available from the journal web site.

Keywords

  • arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi
  • decomposition
  • organic material
  • spatial heterogeneity
  • intra- and interspecific competition
  • NUTRIENT-RICH PATCHES
  • ROOT PROLIFERATION
  • ARBUSCULAR MYCORRHIZAS
  • GLOMUS-FASCICULATUM
  • LOLIUM-PERENNE
  • N CAPTURE
  • SOIL
  • FUNGUS
  • GROWTH
  • GRASS

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