Mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal dicotyledonous herbaceous plants differ in root anatomy: evidence from the Middle Urals, Russia

Abstract

Mycorrhiza is an important factor in plant morphogenesis, especially in root formation. It has been shown that mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plants differ in root length and diameter; however, the underlying anatomical features have been poorly described. In the present work, we analysed functionally divergent roots of 28 species of dicotyledonous herbaceous plants (the Apiaceae, Asteraceae, Caryophyllaceae, Lamiaceae, and Polygonaceae families) from the Middle Urals, Russia. Based on our data and those of previous reports, we divided all species into three groups, non-mycorrhizal (6 species), mycorrhizal (9), and variable mycorrhizal (13), and compared general characteristics of their root systems and anatomical features of the finest roots. The root system of non-mycorrhizal plants was more branched compared to mycorrhizal, which possibly facilitates the uptake of water and mineral nutrients in the absence of fungal symbionts. The main difference was that the cortex of the mycorrhizal species’ roots was significantly thicker due to 4–6 cell layers while those of non-mycorrhizal had no more than 4 layers. Moreover, the cortex was apparently retained for a relatively long time. Analysis of variable mycorrhizal plants revealed intermediate values between two contrast groups. We suggest that a greater number of cortical cell layers in the finest roots and a prolonged retention of the cortex are intrinsic for mycorrhizal species; nevertheless, further research is needed to assess whether it is applicable to other dicotyledonous plant species.

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Acknowledgements

The assistance of Tatiana Rasskazova (UrFU, Foreign Languages Dpt.) and Ian Miller (UrFU, Linguistics) in the preparation of this article is acknowledged and appreciated. We would also like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. This project was partly supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation within the State Task Programme (Project No. 6.7696.2017/8.9). The part of the project led by Dr. Denis Veselkin was performed under the State Contract of the Institute of Plant and Animal Ecology, UB RAS.

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Correspondence to Anna A. Betekhtina.

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Betekhtina, A.A., Veselkin, D.V. Mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal dicotyledonous herbaceous plants differ in root anatomy: evidence from the Middle Urals, Russia. Symbiosis 77, 133–140 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13199-018-0571-2

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Keywords

  • Finest roots
  • Arbuscular mycorrhiza
  • Root anatomy
  • Dicotyledonous plants
  • Central cylinder
  • Cortex