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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Influence of Adverse Soil Conditions on the Formation and Function of Arbuscular Mycorrhizas

Authors
item Entry, James
item Rygiewicz, Paul - U.S. EPA
item Watrud, Lidia - U.S. EPA
item Donnelly, Paula - SANTA FE COMM. COLLEGE

Submitted to: Advances in Environmental Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 30, 2001
Publication Date: July 1, 2002

Interpretive Summary: Mycorrhizal fungi are ecologically significant because they form relationships in and on the roots of a host plant in a symbiotic association. The host plant provides the fungus with soluble carbon sources and the fungus provides the host plant with water and nutrients from the soil. Adverse conditions are a pervasive feature in both natural and agronomic soils. The soil environment is constantly changing with regard to moisture, temperature and nutrient availability. In addition, soil properties are often manipulated to improve crop yields. In many cases soils may be contaminated through disposal of chemicals that are toxic to plants and microorganisms. The formation and function of mycorrhizal relationships are effected by edaphic conditions such as soil composition, moisture, temperature, pH, cation exchange capacity and also by anthropogenic stressors including soil compaction, metals and pesticides. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are of interest for their reported roles in alleviation of diverse soil-associated plant stressors including those induced by metals, polychlorinated alaphitic and phenolic pollutants. Much mycorrhizal research has investigated the extremes in water, temperature, pH and inorganic nutrient availability on mycorrhizal formation and nutrient acquisition. Evaluation of the efficacy of plant-mycorrhizal associations to remediate contaminated soils with toxic materials deserves increased attention. Before the full potential benefits of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to reclaim contaminated soils can be realized, research advances are needed to improve our understanding of the physiology of mycorrhizae subjected to adverse physical and chemical conditions.

Technical Abstract: The majority of plants have mycorrhizal fungi associated with them. Mycorrhizal fungi are ecologically significant because they form relationships in and on the roots of a host plant in a symbiotic association. The host plant provides the fungus with soluble carbon sources and the fungus provides the host plant with water and nutrients from the soil. Adverse conditions are a pervasive feature in both natural and agronomic soils. The soil environment is constantly changing with regard to moisture, temperature and nutrient availability. In addition, soil properties are often manipulated to improve crop yields. In many cases soils may be contaminated through disposal of chemicals that are toxic to plants and microorganisms. The formation and function of mycorrhizal relationships are effected by edaphic conditions such as soil composition, moisture, temperature, pH, cation exchange capacity and also by anthropogenic stressors including soil compaction, metals and pesticides. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi are of interest for their reported roles in alleviation of diverse soil-associated plant stressors including those induced by metals, polychlorinated alaphitic and phenolic pollutants. Much mycorrhizal research has investigated the extremes in water, temperature, pH and inorganic nutrient availability on mycorrhizal formation and nutrient acquisition. Evaluation of the efficacy of plant-mycorrhizal associations to remediate contaminated soils with toxic materials deserves increased attention. Before the full potential benefits of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to reclaim contaminated soils can be realized, research advances are needed to improve our understanding of the physiology of mycorrhizae subjected to adverse physical and chemical conditions. This paper will review literature and discuss the implications of soil contamination on the formation and function of arbuscular mycorrhizal assoications.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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