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Responses of mycorrhizae and shoot phosphorus of maize to the frequency and timing of soil disturbance

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Abstract

In several growth chamber studies, both P absorption and mycorrhizal colonization of plants grown in soil left undisturbed after removal of the shoots of the previous crop were higher relative to plants in disturbed soil. However, in one of these studies the soil was disturbed only once instead of after each of three growth cycles, and this resulted in identical colonization in the undisturbed and disturbed treatments. The present study was conducted to systematically investigate the effect of varying the frequency and timing of soil disturbance on mycorrhizal colonization. Maize (Zea mays L.) was grown for four 3-week cycles in pots which initially contained disturbed soil. Five soil disturbance treatments were used to assess the impact of the frequency with which soil is disturbed and the impact of the timing of the disturbance. The frequency of soil disturbance had major effects on mycorrhizal colonization, while the timing of soil disturbance was more related to the reduction in shoot P absorption resulting from disturbance. These results suggest that the extraradical mycelium plays a key role in the mechanism by which soil disturbance reduces shoot P absorption.

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References

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McGonigle, T.P., Miller, M.H. Responses of mycorrhizae and shoot phosphorus of maize to the frequency and timing of soil disturbance. Mycorrhiza 4, 63–68 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00204060

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Key words

  • Arbuscular mycorrhizae
  • Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae (VAM)
  • Maize
  • Phosphorus
  • Soil disturbance
  • Hyphal length