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Keywords:

  • Lycopersicon esculentum, fitness, fruit set, mycorrhiza, pollen, resource allocation, soil fertility, vegetative growth

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.