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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #155669

Title: INOCULATION WITH ERICOID MYCORRHIZAL FUNGI ALTERS ROOT COLONIZATION AND GROWTH IN NURSERY PRODUCTION OF BLUEBERRY PLANTS FROM TISSUE CULTURE AND CUTTINGS

Author
item Scagel, Carolyn
item WAGNER, ADAM
item WINIARSKI, PAUL

Submitted to: Small Fruit Reviews
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2004
Publication Date: 9/1/2005
Citation: Scagel, C.F., Wagner, A., Winiarski, P. 2005. Inoculation with ericoid mycorrhizal fungi alters root colonization and growth in nursery production of blueberry plants from tissue culture and cuttings. Small Fruit Reviews. 4(4):113-135.

Interpretive Summary: Unrooted tissue culture plantlets (TC) and hardwood cuttings (HC) of different cultivars of highbush blueberry plants were inoculated with ericoid mycorrhizal fungi (EMF) in a commercial blueberry nursery. Plants were monitored for root colonization by EMF and plant growth to determine if inoculation with EMF influences rooting, subsequent plant growth, or EMF colonization during two years after inoculation. Both TC and HC plants became naturally colonized by EMF, however the intensity of this natural colonization was low and inoculation with EMF increased colonization for some cultivars, especially in the first few months after inoculation. This suggests that low colonization during nursery production of blueberry may be at least partially a result of low inoculum potential of the growing medium. Inoculation of TC plants, caused measurable changes in plant growth during the first two growing cycles, however, the responses to inoculation varied with cultivar, suggesting that a level of plant-fungus specificity may exist in EMF associations with blueberry plants that influences plant growth. Inoculation of HC with EMF increased colonization on cuttings under the cultural practices used in the nursery, however colonization decreased between 3 months and 5 months after sticking suggesting that the specific cultural conditions used during propagation decreases colonization by both natural and inoculated populations of the fungi. Even though colonization decreased during propagation, inoculation reduced the time required for rooting and caused measurable changes in root biomass of rooted cuttings. This increased root biomass may lead to increased quality and performance of rooted cuttings after transplanting

Technical Abstract: Unrooted tissue culture plantlets (TC) and hardwood cuttings (HC) of different cultivars of highbush blueberry plants (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) were inoculated with mixed inoculum of three different isolates of ericoid mycorrhizal fungi (EMF) in a commercial blueberry nursery. Plants were monitored for root colonization by EMF and plant growth during two years after inoculation. Both TC and HC plants became naturally colonized by EMF, however the intensity of this natural colonization was low and inoculation increased colonization, especially during the first few months after inoculation. This suggests that low colonization during nursery production of blueberry may be at least partially a result of low inoculum potential of the growing medium. Colonization of certain cultivars also decreased after plants were transplanted. This decrease in colonization suggests that 1) the fungi used for inoculation may not be suitable for under the specific cultural conditions used in the nursery, 2) changes in cultural conditions from transplanting inhibited further colonization of the fungi that were present in the initial stages of propagation, or 3) changes in the type of fungi. Inoculation of TC plants caused measurable changes in plant growth, however, responses to inoculation varied with cultivar, suggesting that a level of plant-fungus specificity may exist in EMF associations with blueberry plants that influences plant growth. Inoculation of HC with EMF increased colonization on cuttings under the cultural practices used in the nursery,and reduced the time required for rooting and caused measurable changes in root biomass of rooted cuttings. This increased root biomass may lead to increased quality and performance of rooted cuttings after transplanting.