Mycorrhizal infection and high soil phosphorus improve vegetative growth and the female and male functions in tomato

Authors

  • Jennifer L. Poulton,

    1. Department of Biology and The Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802 USA;
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  • David Bryla,

    1. USDA-ARS, South Peach Avenue, Fresno, CA 93727 USA;
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  • Roger T. Koide,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Horticulture and The Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, 102 Tyson Building, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802 USA
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  • Andrew G. Stephenson

    1. Department of Biology and The Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802 USA;
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Author for correspondence: Roger T. Koide Tel: +1 814 863 0710 Fax: +1 814 863 6139 Email: rxk13@psu.edu

Summary

  •  To further characterize the effects of mycorrhizal infection and soil phosphorus (P) availability on plant fitness, this study examined their effects on the female and male functions, as well as vegetative growth of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum).
  •  Two cultivars of tomato were grown in a glasshouse under three treatment combinations: nonmycorrhizal, low P (NMPO); nonmycorrhizal, high P (NMP3); and mycorrhizal, low P (MPO).
  •  Mycorrhizal infection and high soil P conditions improved several vegetative (leaf area, days until first flower and leaf P concentration) and reproductive traits (total flower production, fruit mass, seed number and pollen production per plant, and mean pollen production per flower). In general, mycorrhizal and P responses were greater for reproductive traits than vegetative traits. In one cultivar, these responses were greater for the male function than the female function.
  •  Thus, mycorrhizal infection and high soil P conditions enhanced fitness through both the female and male functions. Similar trends were usually observed in the NMP3 and MPO treatments, suggesting that mycorrhizal effects were largely the result of improved P acquisition.

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