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Favorable effect of mycorrhizae on biomass production efficiency exceeds their carbon cost in a fertilization experiment

Verlinden, Melanie S.; Ven, Arne LU ; Verbruggen, Erik; Janssens, Ivan A.; Wallander, Håkan LU and Vicca, Sara (2018) In Ecology 99(11). p.2525-2534
Abstract

Biomass production efficiency (BPE), the ratio of biomass production to photosynthesis, varies greatly among ecosystems and typically increases with increasing nutrient availability. Reduced carbon partitioning to mycorrhizal fungi (i.e., per unit photosynthesis) is the hypothesized underlying mechanism, as mycorrhizal abundance and plant dependence on these symbionts typically decrease with increasing nutrient availability. In a mesocosm experiment with Zea mays, we investigated the effect of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) addition and of mycorrhizal inoculation on BPE. Photosynthesis and respiration were measured at mesocosm scale and at leaf scale. The growth of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) was assessed with ingrowth bags... (More)

Biomass production efficiency (BPE), the ratio of biomass production to photosynthesis, varies greatly among ecosystems and typically increases with increasing nutrient availability. Reduced carbon partitioning to mycorrhizal fungi (i.e., per unit photosynthesis) is the hypothesized underlying mechanism, as mycorrhizal abundance and plant dependence on these symbionts typically decrease with increasing nutrient availability. In a mesocosm experiment with Zea mays, we investigated the effect of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) addition and of mycorrhizal inoculation on BPE. Photosynthesis and respiration were measured at mesocosm scale and at leaf scale. The growth of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) was assessed with ingrowth bags while also making use of the difference in δ13C between C4 plants and C3 soil. Mesocosms without AMF, that is, with pasteurized soil, were used to further explore the role of AMF. Plant growth, photosynthesis, and BPE were positively affected by P, but not by N addition. AMF biomass also was slightly higher under P addition, but carbon partitioning to AMF was significantly lower than without P addition. Interestingly, in the absence of AMF, plants that did not receive P died prematurely. Our study confirmed the hypothesis that BPE increases with increasing nutrient availability, and that carbon partitioning to AMF plays a key role in this nutrient effect. The comparison of inoculated vs. pasteurized mesocosms further suggested a lower carbon cost of nutrient uptake via AMF than via other mechanisms under nutrient rich conditions.

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author
organization
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type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
arbuscular mycorrhizae, biomass production efficiency, carbon allocation, carbon use efficiency, mesocosm experiment, nitrogen, nutrient availability, phosphorus
in
Ecology
volume
99
issue
11
pages
2525 - 2534
publisher
Ecological Society of America
external identifiers
  • scopus:85053789621
ISSN
0012-9658
DOI
10.1002/ecy.2502
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
5038fc5b-6640-4347-9398-5b8346ecff7f
date added to LUP
2018-10-24 08:11:08
date last changed
2019-09-17 04:41:48
@article{5038fc5b-6640-4347-9398-5b8346ecff7f,
  abstract     = {<p>Biomass production efficiency (BPE), the ratio of biomass production to photosynthesis, varies greatly among ecosystems and typically increases with increasing nutrient availability. Reduced carbon partitioning to mycorrhizal fungi (i.e., per unit photosynthesis) is the hypothesized underlying mechanism, as mycorrhizal abundance and plant dependence on these symbionts typically decrease with increasing nutrient availability. In a mesocosm experiment with Zea mays, we investigated the effect of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) addition and of mycorrhizal inoculation on BPE. Photosynthesis and respiration were measured at mesocosm scale and at leaf scale. The growth of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) was assessed with ingrowth bags while also making use of the difference in δ<sup>13</sup>C between C<sub>4</sub> plants and C<sub>3</sub> soil. Mesocosms without AMF, that is, with pasteurized soil, were used to further explore the role of AMF. Plant growth, photosynthesis, and BPE were positively affected by P, but not by N addition. AMF biomass also was slightly higher under P addition, but carbon partitioning to AMF was significantly lower than without P addition. Interestingly, in the absence of AMF, plants that did not receive P died prematurely. Our study confirmed the hypothesis that BPE increases with increasing nutrient availability, and that carbon partitioning to AMF plays a key role in this nutrient effect. The comparison of inoculated vs. pasteurized mesocosms further suggested a lower carbon cost of nutrient uptake via AMF than via other mechanisms under nutrient rich conditions.</p>},
  author       = {Verlinden, Melanie S. and Ven, Arne and Verbruggen, Erik and Janssens, Ivan A. and Wallander, Håkan and Vicca, Sara},
  issn         = {0012-9658},
  keyword      = {arbuscular mycorrhizae,biomass production efficiency,carbon allocation,carbon use efficiency,mesocosm experiment,nitrogen,nutrient availability,phosphorus},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {09},
  number       = {11},
  pages        = {2525--2534},
  publisher    = {Ecological Society of America},
  series       = {Ecology},
  title        = {Favorable effect of mycorrhizae on biomass production efficiency exceeds their carbon cost in a fertilization experiment},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ecy.2502},
  volume       = {99},
  year         = {2018},
}