Journal Article

Ectomycorrhizal fungi affect the physiological responses of <i>Picea glauca</i> and <i>Pinus banksiana</i> seedlings exposed to an NaCl gradient

Grégory Bois, Francine J. Bigras, Annick Bertrand, Yves Piché, Martin Y.P. Fung and Damase P. Khasa

in Tree Physiology

Volume 26, issue 9, pages 1185-1196
Published in print September 2006 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online September 2006 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/26.9.1185
Ectomycorrhizal fungi affect the physiological responses of Picea glauca and Pinus banksiana seedlings exposed to an NaCl gradient

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We tested the effects of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) inoculation on greenhouse-grown white spruce (Picea glauca (Moench) Voss) and jack pine (Pinus banksiana L.) seedlings to be used for revegetation of salt-affected tailing sands resulting from the exploitation of oil sand in northeastern Alberta, Canada. White spruce and jack pine seedlings were inoculated with three ECM fungi selected for their in vitro tolerance to excess Na+ and Cl: Hebeloma crustuliniforme (Bull) Quel. UAMH 5247, Laccaria bicolor Maire (Orton) UAMH 8232 and a Suillus tomentosus (Kauff.) Sing., Snell and Dick isolate from a salt-affected site. The physiological responses of the seedlings to a gradient of NaCl concentration (0, 50, 100 and 200 mM) were assessed over four weeks by: (1) Na+ accumulation and allocation; (2) chlorophyll a fluorescence; (3) growth, (4) water content; and (5) organic osmolyte accumulation. Jack pine seedlings were more sensitive than white spruce seedlings to increasing Na+ and Cl concentrations. Both species showed decreasing biomass accumulation, and increasing concentrations of organic osmotica and Na with increasing NaCl concentration. White spruce seedlings inoculated with the S. tomentosus isolate had the best growth response at all NaCl concentrations tested. Although jack pine seedlings inoculated with the L. bicolor or S. tomentosus isolate exhibited the highest growth in the 50 and 100 mM NaCl treatments, both fungi increased the photochemical stress and dehydration of their hosts in the 200 mM NaCl treatment. At the latter concentration, jack pine seedlings inoculated with H. crustuliniforme showed the greatest tolerance to salt stress. Although the different fungi altered the physiological response of the host in different ways, inoculation with salt-stress-tolerant ECM fungi increased growth and reduced the negative effects of excess NaCl. Use of controlled mycorrhization may increase survival of coniferous seedlings used for revegetation of salt-affected sites.

Keywords: chlorophyll a fluorescence; Hebeloma crustuliniforme; jack pine; Laccaria bicolor; osmolytes; stress; Suillus tomentosus; white spruce

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Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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