Seedling performance ofPhragmites australis(Cav.) Trin ex. Steudel in the presence of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

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Abstract

Aims:

Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus–plant symbiosis may induce morphological, physiological and/or biochemical changes in the host plants. This study was performed to investigate the effects of AM fungi on Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin ex. Steudel.

Methods and Results:

Funnelliformis mosseae and Rhizophagus irregularis were chosen as inocula, and detailed attributes related to seedling performance (from seed to five-leaf stage), rhizospheric conditions and micro-organisms were measured and compared. Both of the chosen AM fungal inocula accelerated seed germination and enhanced growth and development, especially in the underground tissues, of seedlings. Specifically, AM fungal colonization improved the photosynthetic efficiency, rhizospheric soil respiration and absorption of certain nutrients in Ph. australis seedlings as well as the rhizospheric microbial metabolic activity and richness in different extents. However, the decreased metabolic diversity suggested that the effects of AM fungi on rhizospheric microbial communities are specific and selective.

Conclusions:

As a whole, F. mosseae showed greater improvements in the performance of Ph. australis seedlings than R. irregularis. In addition, the potential applications of AM fungi as a ‘bio-accelerator’, ‘biofortifier’, and ‘bio-enhancer’ in phyto-rhizoremediation have been discussed.

Significance and Impact of the Study:

The main findings could preliminarily reveal the mechanisms behind AM fungus–plant symbioses and could be referred to when optimizing combined phyto-rhizoremediation before practical applications take place.

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