Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi respond to the substrate pH of their extraradical mycelium by altered growth and root colonization


Author for correspondence: Ingrid M. van Aarle Tel: +46 46 2223760 Fax: +46 46 2224158 Email:


  • • To test the response of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi to a difference in soil pH, the extraradical mycelium of Scutellospora calospora or Glomus intraradices, in association with Plantago lanceolata, was exposed to two different pH treatments, while the root substrate pH was left unchanged.
  • • Seedlings of P. lanceolata, colonized by one or other of the fungal symbionts, and nonmycorrhizal controls, were grown in mesh bags placed in pots containing pH-buffered sand (pH around 5 or 6). The systems were harvested at approximately 2-wk intervals between 20 and 80 d.
  • • Both fungi formed more extraradical mycelium at the higher pH. Glomus intraradices formed almost no detectable extraradical mycelium at lower pH. The extraradical mycelium of S. calospora had higher acid phosphatase activity than that of G. intraradices. Total AM root colonization decreased for both fungi at the higher pH, and high pH also reduced arbuscule and vesicle formation in G. intraradices.
  • • In conclusion, soil pH influences AM root colonization as well as the growth and phosphatase activities of extraradical mycelium, although the two fungi responded differently.