Journal Article

Effects of mycorrhizal colonization and elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide on carbon fixation and below-ground carbon partitioning in <i>Plantago lanceolata</i>

P.L. Staddon, A.H. Fitter and D. Robinson

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Published on behalf of Society for Experimental Biology

Volume 50, issue 335, pages 853-860
Published in print June 1999 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online June 1999 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/50.335.853
Effects of mycorrhizal colonization and elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide on carbon fixation and below-ground carbon partitioning in Plantago lanceolata

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Plantago lanceolata with or without the mycorrhizal fungus Glomus mosseae were grown over a 100 d period under ambient (380 ± 50 µmol mol-1) and elevated (600 ± 150 Émol mol-1) atmospheric CO2 conditions. To achieve similar growth, non-mycorrhizal plants received phosphorus in solution whereas mycorrhizal plants were supplied with bonemeal. Measures of plant growth, photosynthesis and carbon input to the soil were obtained. Elevated CO2 stimulated plant growth to the same extent in mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plants, but had no effect on the partitioning of carbon between shoots and roots or on shoot tissue phosphorus concentration. Mycorrhizal colonization was low, but unaffected by CO2 treatment. Net photosynthesis was stimulated both by mycorrhizal colonization and elevated CO2, and there was a more than additive effect of the two treatments on net photosynthesis. Colonization by mycorrhizal fungi inhibited acclimation, in terms of net carbon assimilation, of plants to elevated CO2. 13C natural abundance techniques were used to measure carbon input into the soil, although the results were not conclusive. Direct measurements of below-ground root biomass showed that elevated CO2 did stimulate carbon flow below-ground and this was higher in mycorrhizal than non-mycorrhizal plants. For the four treatment combinations, the observed relative differences in amount of below-ground carbon were compared with those expected from the differences in net photosynthesis. A considerable amount of the extra carbon fixed both as a result of mycorrhizal colonization and growth in elevated CO2 did not reveal itself as increased plant biomass. As there was no evidence for a substantial increase in soil organic matter, most of this extra carbon must have been respired by the mycorrhizal fungus and the roots or by the the plants as dark-respiration. The need for detailed studies in this area is emphasized.

Keywords: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; down-regulation of photosynthesis; enhanced atmospheric CO2; respiration; soil carbon

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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