VA mycorrhizae, the most ancient type of mycorrhizal symbiosis, are present in the most phytogenetically advanced groups. Few plants have evolved mechanisms to completely prevent infection by VAM fungi. Yet, plant species that are less dependent on VA mycorrhizae for nutrient acquisition (e.g., grasses) generally have less root colonization in the field than more dependent species (e.g., Citrus). Among closely related Citrus genotypes, there is a greater tendency for less dependent species to limit the rate but not the extent of colonization, even in high-P soils. We hypothesize that colonization represents a significant carbon cost that may be regulated by the host genotype. Carbon expenditure on the fungus at high P may result in mycorrhizal-induced growth depression. The potential value of breeding plants for greater susceptibility to colonization will depend on the cost/benefit of VA mycorrhizae for the specific crop, soil and environmental conditions. Although the genetics and physiology of host control over VAM colonization are barely known, recently discovered mycorrhizal colonization mutants (myc-) of pea offer great promise for the study of host-fungus compatibility.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Soil Science
- Plant Science