, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp 559-565
Date: 11 Oct 2006

The ectomycorrhizal fungus Scleroderma bermudense alleviates salt stress in seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera L. ) seedlings

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The purpose of this study was to test the capacity of the ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungus, Scleroderma bermudense, to alleviate saline stress in seagrape (Coccoloba uvifera L.) seedlings. Plants were grown over a range (0, 200, 350 and 500 mM) of NaCl levels for 12 weeks, after 4 weeks of non-saline pre-treatment under greenhouse conditions. Growth and mineral nutrition of the seagrape seedlings were stimulated by S. bermudense regardless of salt stress. Although ECM colonization was reduced with increasing NaCl levels, ECM dependency of seagrape seedlings increased. Tissues of ECM plants had significantly increased concentrations of P and K but lower Na and Cl concentrations than those of non-ECM plants. Higher K concentrations in the leaves of ECM plants suggested a higher osmoregulating capacity of these plants. Moreover, the water status of ECM plants was improved despite their higher evaporative leaf surface. The results suggest that the reduction in Na and Cl uptake together with a concomitant increase in P and K absorption and a higher water status in ECM plants may be important salt-alleviating mechanisms for seagrape seedlings growing in saline soils.