Faculty Publications

Mycorrhizal Response In Wheat Cultivars: Relationship To Phosphorus

Document Type



Growth response, Mycorrhizal symbiosis, Pathogenesis, Vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Canadian Journal of Botany





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The effect of five mycorrhizal fungi on the growth of 10 wheat cultivars under three phosphorus regimes was assessed in a greenhouse study. Six of the cultivars responded positively, while four responded negatively or were nonresponsive to mycorrhizal inoculation. The responses of the individual cultivars were consistent regardless of inoculum source, suggesting that mycorrhizal responsiveness is an inherited trait rather than a response to individual fungi. Mycorrhizal responsiveness decreased with P fertilization for cultivars that were dependent on the symbiosis, but it was unaffected by P fertilization in cultivars that were negatively impacted by the mycorrhizae. Mycorrhizal and P responsiveness of each cultivar were highly correlated (r = 0.94), suggesting that P responsiveness may be a good predictor of the mycorrhizal dependence of selected wheat cultivars. The relationship between wheat biomass production and percentage root colonization was positive for cultivars, which responded favorably to the symbiosis, and negative for cultivars, which responded negatively or were nonresponsive to mycorrhizal inoculation. Amendment with P did not significantly affect these relationships. To determine whether differences in mycorrhizal responsiveness are related to nutrient uptake by the fungus, 32P uptake of Turkey (responsive cultivar) and Newton (nonresponsive cultivar) was controlled by severing the mycorrhizal hyphae in a split-pot experiment. Plants with intact hyphae absorbed more 32P than those with severed hyphae for both cultivars, and significantly more counts per minute of 32P were evident in Newton than in Turkey, suggesting that mycorrhizal function is not impaired even in cultivars that do not display a biomass increase in response to mycorrhizal symbiosis.


Department of Biology

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DOI of published version