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Maize varieties can strengthen positive plant-soil feedback through beneficial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal mutualists

  • Xin-Xin Wang
  • Ellis Hoffland
  • Liesje Mommer
  • Gu FengEmail author
  • Thomas W. Kuyper
Original Article


Plant-soil feedback (PSF) describes the process whereby plant species modify the soil environment, which subsequently impacts the growth of the same or another plant species. Our aim was to explore PSF by two maize varieties (a landrace and a hybrid variety) and three arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) species (Funneliformis mosseae, Claroideoglomus etunicatum, Gigaspora margarita, and the mixture). We carried out a pot experiment with a conditioning and a feedback phase to determine PSF with different species of AMF and with a non-mycorrhizal control. Sterilized soil was conditioned separately by each variety, with or without AMF; in the feedback phase, each soil community was used to grow each in its “home” soil and in the “away” soil. Plant performance was assessed as shoot biomass, phosphorus (P) concentration and P content, and fungal performance was assessed as mycorrhizal colonization and hyphal length density. Both maize varieties were differentially influenced by AMF in the conditioning phase. In the feedback phase, PSF was generally negative for non-mycorrhizal plants or when plants were colonized by G. margarita, whereas PSF was positive in the other three AMF treatments. When plants were grown on home soil, hyphal length density was larger than on away soil. We conclude that different maize varieties can strengthen positive plant-soil feedback for themselves through beneficial mutualists for themselves, but not across the maize varieties.


Maize varieties AMF species Plant-soil feedback Soil conditioning 



We are grateful to editor David Janos and two anonymous reviewers for constructive criticism on an earlier version of this manuscript.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (U1703232) and National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFD0200200).

Supplementary material

572_2019_885_MOESM1_ESM.docx (473 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 472 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Resources and Environmental Sciences and Centre for Resources, Environment and Food SecurityChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Mountain Area Research InstituteAgricultural University of HebeiBaodingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Soil Biology GroupWageningen University & ResearchWageningenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Plant Ecology and Nature Conservation GroupWageningen University & ResearchWageningenThe Netherlands

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