Authors: Seven J, Polle A
Citation: PLoS ONE 2014;9(12):e114672
PMID : 25486253, Journal: PLoS ONE, 9, 12
Date created: 2014-12-09
Mycorrhizas are the chief organ for plant mineral nutrient acquisition. In temperate, mixed forests, ash roots (Fraxinus excelsior) are colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM) and beech roots (Fagus sylvatica) by ectomycorrhizal fungi (EcM). Knowledge on the functions of different mycorrhizal species that coexist in the same environment is scarce. The concentrations of nutrient elements in plant and fungal cells can inform on nutrient accessibility and interspecific differences of mycorrhizal life forms. Here, we hypothesized that mycorrhizal fungal species exhibit interspecific differences in mineral nutrient concentrations and that the differences correlate with the mineral nutrient concentrations of their associated root cells. Abundant mycorrhizal fungal species of mature beech and ash trees in a long-term undisturbed forest ecosystem were the EcM Lactarius subdulcis, Clavulina cristata and Cenococcum geophilum and the AM Glomus sp. Mineral nutrient subcellular localization and quantities of the mycorrhizas were analysed after non-aqueous sample preparation by electron dispersive X-ray transmission electron microscopy. Cenococcum geophilum contained the highest sulphur, Clavulina cristata the highest calcium levels, and Glomus, in which cations and P were generally high, exhibited the highest potassium levels. Lactarius subdulcis-associated root cells contained the highest phosphorus levels. The root cell concentrations of K, Mg and P were unrelated to those of the associated fungal structures, whereas S and Ca showed significant correlations between fungal and plant concentrations of those elements. Our results support profound interspecific differences for mineral nutrient acquisition among mycorrhizas formed by different fungal taxa. The lack of correlation between some plant and fungal nutrient element concentrations may reflect different retention of mineral nutrients in the fungal part of the symbiosis. High mineral concentrations, especially of potassium, in Glomus sp. suggest that the well-known influence of tree species on chemical soil properties may be related to their mycorrhizal associates.