Status of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in the Sundarbans of India in relation to tidal inundation and chemical properties of soil

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The arbuscular mycorrhizal status of fifteen mangroves and one mangrove associate was investigated from 27 sites of three inundation types namely, diurnal, usual springtide and summer springtide. Roots and rhizospheric soil samples were analysed for spore density, frequency of mycorrhizal colonization and some chemical characteristics of soil. Relative abundance, frequency and spore richness of AMF were assessed at each inundation type. All the plant species except Avicennia alba exhibited mycorrhizal colonization. The study demonstrated that mycorrhizal colonization and spore density were more influenced by host plant species than tidal inundation. Forty four AMF species belonging to six genera, namely Acaulospora, Entrophospora, Gigaspora, Glomus, Sclerocystis and Scutellospora, were recorded. Glomus mosseae exhibited highest frequency at all the inundation types; Glomus fistulosum, Sclerocystis coremioides and Glomus mosseae showed highest relative abundance at sites inundated by usual springtides, summer springtides and diurnal tides, respectively. Spore richness of AMF was of the order usual springtide > diurnal > summer springtide inundated sites. The mean spore richness was 3.27. Diurnally inundated sites had the lowest concentrations of salinity, available phosphorus, exchangeable potassium, sodium and magnesium. Statistical analyses indicated that mycorrhizal frequency and AMF spore richness were significantly negatively correlated to soil salinity. Spore richness was also significantly negatively correlated to available phosphorus. The soil parameters of the usual springtide inundated sites appeared to be favourable for the existence of maximum number of AMF. Glomus mosseae was the predominant species in terms of frequency in the soils of the Sundarbans.

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