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Plant Physiol. 1993 Mar;101(3):1063-1071.

Growth Depression in Mycorrhizal Citrus at High-Phosphorus Supply (Analysis of Carbon Costs).

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Citrus Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Lake Alfred, Florida 33850 (S.P., D.M.E., J.H.G.).


Mycorrhizal-induced growth depression of plants in high-P soil has been reported in many species. The carbon costs of factors contributing to this growth depression were analyzed in Volkamer lemon (Citrus volkameriana Tan. & Pasq.) colonized by the mycorrhizal (M) fungus Glomus intraradices Schenck and Smith. M and nonmycorrhizal (NM) plants were each grown at two P-supply rates. Carbon budgets of M and NM plants were determined by measuring whole-plant carbon assimilation and respiration rates using gas-exchange techniques. Biomass, M colonization, tissue-P concentration, and total fatty acid concentration in the fibrous roots were determined. Construction costs of the fibrous roots were estimated from heat of combustion, N, and ash content. Root-growth respiration was derived from daily root growth and root-construction cost. M and NM plants grown in high-P soil were similar in P concentration, daily shoot carbon assimilation, and daily shoot dark respiration. At 52 d after transplanting (DAT), however, combined daily root plus soil respiration was 37% higher for M than for NM plants, resulting in a 20% higher daily specific carbon gain (mmol CO2 [mmol carbon]-1 d-1) in NM than M plants. Estimates of specific carbon gain from specific growth rates indicated about a 10% difference between M and NM plants. Absolute values of specific carbon gain estimated by whole-plant gas exchange and by growth analysis were in general agreement. At 52 DAT, M and NM plants at high P had nearly identical whole-plant growth rates, but M plants had 19% higher root dry weight with 10% higher daily rates of root growth. These allocation differences at high P accounted for about 51% of the differences in root/soil respiration between M and NM plants. Significantly higher fatty acid concentrations in M than NM fibrous roots were correlated with differences in construction costs of the fibrous roots. Of the 37% difference in daily total root/soil respiration observed between high-P M and NM plants at 52 DAT, estimated daily growth respiration accounted for only about 16%, two-thirds of which was associated with construction of lipid-rich roots, and the remaining one-third with greater M root growth rates. Thus, of the 37% more root/soil respiration associated with M colonization of high-P plants, 10% was directly attributable to building lipid-rich roots, 51% to greater M root biomass allocation, and the remaining 39% could have been used for maintenance of the fungal tissue in the root and growth and maintenance of the extramatrical hyphae.

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