Nitrogen transfer from one plant to another depends on plant biomass production between conspecific and heterospecific species via a common arbuscular mycorrhizal network

Yuejun He*, Johannes H.C. Cornelissen, Pengpeng Wang, Ming Dong, Jing Ou

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    The formation of a common mycorrhizal network (CMN) between roots of different plant species enables nutrient transfers from one plant to another and their coexistence. However, almost all studies on nutrient transfers between CMN-connected plants have separately, but not simultaneously, been demonstrated under the same experimentation. Both conspecific and heterospecific seedlings of Cinnamomum camphora, Bidens pilosa, and Broussonetia papyrifera native to a karst habitat in southwest China were concurrently grown in a growth microcosm that had seven hollowed compartments (six around one in the center) being covered by 35.0-μm and/or 0.45-μm nylon mesh. The Ci. camphora in the central compartment was supplied with or without Glomus etunicatum and 15 N to track N transfers between CMN-connected conspecific and heterospecific seedlings. The results showed as follows: significant greater nitrogen accumulations, biomass productions, 15 N content, % N transfer , and the N transfer amount between receiver plant species ranked as Br. papyrifera≈Bi. pilosa > Ci. camphora under both M + and M , and as under M + than under M for Ci. camphora but not for both Bi. Pilosa and Br. papyrifera; the CMN transferred more nitrogen ( 15 N content, % N transfer , and N transfer amount) from the donor Ci. camphora to the heterospecific Br. papyrifera and Bi. pilosa, with a lower percentage of nitrogen derived from transfer (%NDFT). These findings suggest that the CMN may potentially regulate the nitrogen transfer from a donor plant to individual heterospecific receiver plants, where the ratio of nitrogen derived from transfer depends on the biomass strength of the individual plants.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)8828-8837
    Number of pages10
    JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
    Issue number9
    Early online date2 Feb 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


    We thank Prof. Gui-Jie Ding, Dr Li-Fei Yu, Dr Ji-Ming Liu, Dr De-Lu Wang, Dr Xiao-Li Wei, and Dr Zhi-Tai Wang (Forestry College of Guizhou University) for supporting this research. We thank professor Xin-hua He (College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University) for the suggestions and writing helps of this paper, and we thank Chun-Yu Wu and Pei-Yun Xie for helping with the experimental process.

    FundersFunder number
    NSFC 3136010631660156, 31000204, 31360106, 31560223
    Program Foundation on Training the Young Talents for Science
    Provincial Key Technologies R&D Program of Guizhou Province of China
    Qian-ke-he Platform Talents[2017] 5788
    Young Talents for Science and Technology
    National Natural Science Foundation of China
    Guizhou University
    Southwest University
    Department of Education of Guizhou Province
    Agricultural Science and Technology Innovation Program


      • N
      • Bidens pilosa
      • Broussonetia papyrifera
      • Cinnamomum camphora
      • Common mycorrhizal networks
      • Glomus etunicatum
      • Nitrogen transfer


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