New Phytologist 166(2): 601 (May 2005)
Does the presence of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi influence growth and nutrient uptake of a wild-type tomato cultivar
and a mycorrhiza-defective mutant, cultivated with roots sharing the same soil volume?
Elke Neumann and Eckhard George


 We investigated the growth and nutrient uptake of the Lycopersicon esculentum symbiosis mycorrhiza-defective plant mutant rmc, challenged with arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM) fungal propagules, in the presence or absence of roots of the commercial wild-type tomato cv. Golden Queen (GQ).

 Two plants shared the middle (combi) compartment of a horizontal three-compartment split-root pot with one part of their root system; the other part was grown separately in an outer (solo) pot. Combinations of rmc and GQ plants were grown together in soil that was either mycorrhiza-free (–M) or prepared with AM fungal inoculum (+M).

 Surface colonization of rmc roots was strongly increased in the presence of (+M) GQ roots. AM fungal inoculation increased phosphorus uptake of GQ plants, but decreased growth and P uptake of rmc plants. Growth and P uptake of (+M) GQ plants were reduced when plants were grown in combination with rmc rather than another GQ plant.

 AM fungi in the (combi) compartment may have preferentially formed hyphae spreading infection rather than functioning in P uptake in (+M) GQ plants grown in combination with rmc. Surface colonization of (+M) rmc roots, in the presence of GQ roots, was probably established at the expense of carbohydrates from associated GQ plants. Possible reasons for a decreased P uptake of rmc plants in response to AM fungal inoculation are proposed.

Tomato Bibliography

Mycorrhizal Fungi