Indexed on: 01 Oct '05Published on: 01 Oct '05Published in: Plant and soil
Diversity in phosphorus (P) acquisition strategies was assessed among eight isolates of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) belonging to three Glomus species, all obtained from the same field site. Maize (Zea mays L. cv. Corso) was used as a test plant. Compartmented cultivation containers coupled with 33P radioisotope labeling of soil P were employed to estimate (1) the distance from the roots that AMF were able to acquire soil P from, (2) the rate of soil colonization, (3) the efficiency of uptake of soil P by AMF, (4) benefits provided to maize in terms of P acquisition and growth. Glomus mosseae and G. intraradices took up P 10 cm from roots, whereas G. claroideum only up to 6 cm from the roots. G. mosseae most rapidly colonized the available soil volume and transported significant amounts of P to maize from a distance, but provided no net P uptake benefit to the plants. On the other hand, both G. intraradices and three out of four G. claroideum isolates significantly improved net P uptake by maize. These effects seem to be related to variability between and to a limited extent also within AMF species, in mycelium development, efficiency of hyphal P uptake and effects on plant P acquisition via the root pathway. In spite of absence of maize growth responses to inoculation with any of the AMF isolates, this study indicates remarkable functional diversity in the underground component of the studied field site.