Growth depression in mycorrhizal citrus at high-phosphorus supply: Analysis of carbon costs

Shaobing Peng, David M. Eissenstat, James H. Graham, Kimberlyn Williams, Nancy C. Hodge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

286 Scopus citations


Mycorrhizal-induced growth depression of plants in high-P soil has been reported in many species. The carbon costs of factors contributing to this growth depression were analyzed in Volkamer lemon (Citrus volkameriana Tan. & Pasq.) colonized by the mycorrhizal (M) fungus Glomus intraradices Schenck and Smith. M and nonmycorrhizal (NM) plants were each grown at two P-supply rates. Carbon budgets of M and NM plants were determined by measuring whole-plant carbon assimilation and respiration rates using gas-exchange techniques. Biomass, M colonization, tissue-P concentration, and total fatty acid concentration in the fibrous roots were determined. Construction costs of the fibrous roots were estimated from heat of combustion, N, and ash content. Root-growth respiration was derived from daily root growth and root-construction cost. M and NM plants grown in high-P soil were similar in P concentration, daily shoot carbon assimilation, and daily shoot dark respiration. At 52 d after transplanting (DAT), however, combined daily root plus soil respiration was 37% higher for M than for NM plants, resulting in a 20% higher daily specific carbon gain (mmol CO2 [mmol carbon]-1 d-1) in NM than M plants. Estimates of specific carbon gain from specific growth rates indicated about a 10% difference between M and NM plants. Absolute values of specific carbon gain estimated by whole-plant gas exchange and by growth analysis were in general agreement. At 52 DAT, M and NM plants at high P had nearly identical whole-plant growth rates, but M plants had 19% higher root dry weight with 10% higher daily rates of root growth. These allocation differences at high P accounted for about 51% of the differences in root/soil respiration between M and NM plants. Significantly higher fatty acid concentrations in M than NM fibrous roots were correlated with differences in construction costs of the fibrous roots. Of the 37% difference in daily total root/soil respiration observed between high-P M and NM plants at 52 DAT, estimated daily growth respiration accounted for only about 16%, two-thirds of which was associated with construction of lipid-rich roots, and the remaining one-third with greater M root growth rates. Thus, of the 37% more root/soil respiration associated with M colonization of high-P plants, 10% was directly attributable to building lipid-rich roots, 51% to greater M root biomass allocation, and the remaining 39% could have been used for maintenance of the fungal tissue in the root and growth and maintenance of the extramatrical hyphae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1063-1071
Number of pages9
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Growth depression in mycorrhizal citrus at high-phosphorus supply: Analysis of carbon costs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this