Nonlegumes, legumes, and root nodules harbor different arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities.

T.R. Scheublin, K.P. Ridgway, J.P.W. Young, M.G.A. van der Heijden

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Abstract

Legumes are an important plant functional group since they can form a tripartite symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing Rhizobium bacteria and phosphorus-acquiring arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). However, not much is known about AMF community composition in legumes and their root nodules. In this study, we analyzed the AMF community composition in the roots of three nonlegumes and in the roots and root nodules of three legumes growing in a natural dune grassland. We amplified a portion of the small-subunit ribosomal DNA and analyzed it by using restriction fragment length polymorphism and direct sequencing. We found differences in AMF communities between legumes and nonlegumes and between legume roots and root nodules. Different plant species also contained different AMF communities, with different AMF diversity. One AMF sequence type was much more abundant in legumes than in nonlegumes (39 and 13%, respectively). Root nodules contained characteristic AMF communities that were different from those in legume roots, even though the communities were similar in nodules from different legume species. One AMF sequence type was found almost exclusively in root nodules. Legumes and root nodules have relatively high nitrogen concentrations and high phosphorus demands. Accordingly, the presence of legume- and nodule-related AMF can be explained by the specific nutritional requirements of legumes or by host-specific interactions among legumes, root nodules, and AMF. In summary, we found that AMF communities vary between plant functional groups (legumes and nonlegumes), between plant species, and between parts of a root system (roots and root nodules).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6240-6246
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume70
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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