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New Phytol. 2005 Aug;167(2):531-42.

Mycorrhizas improve nitrogen nutrition of Trifolium repens after 8 yr of selection under elevated atmospheric CO2 partial pressure.

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1
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich), Geobotanical Institute, Zollikerstrasse 107, CH-8008 Zürich, Switzerland. hag500@york.ac.uk

Abstract

Altered environmental conditions may change populations of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and thereby affect mycorrhizal functioning. We investigated whether 8 yr of free-air CO2 enrichment has selected fungi that differently influence the nutrition and growth of host plants. In a controlled pot experiment, two sets of seven randomly picked single spore isolates, originating from field plots of elevated (60 Pa) or ambient CO2 partial pressure (pCO2), were inoculated on nodulated Trifolium repens (white clover) plants. Fungal isolates belonged to the Glomus claroideum or Glomus intraradices species complex, and host plants were clonal micropropagates derived from nine genets. Total nitrogen (N) concentration was increased in leaves of plants inoculated with fungal isolates from elevated-pCO2 plots. These isolates took up nearly twice as much N from the soil as isolates from ambient-pCO2 plots and showed much greater stimulation of biological N2 fixation. The morpho-species identity of isolates had a more pronounced effect on N2 fixation and on root length colonized than isolate identity. We conclude that rising atmospheric pCO2 may select for fungal strains that will help their host plants to meet increased N demands.

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