Production of external mycelium by ectomycorrhizal fungi in a norway spruce forest was reduced in response to nitrogen fertilization

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Author for correspondence: Tel: +46 46 222 3756 Fax: +46 46 222 4158 Email: Lars-Ola.Nilsson@mbioekol.lu.se

Summary

  • • A field study was carried out to evaluate the influence of N fertilization on the growth of the external mycelium of ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi in a Norway spruce forest in SW Sweden.
  • • Nylon mesh bags filled with sand were buried in the soil for 6–18 months and the ingrowth of mycelium was used as an estimate of EM mycelial growth. Root-isolated, trenched plots were used to estimate background growth of saprotrophic fungi.
  • • Mycelial growth of EM fungi in N-treated plots was reduced to c. 50% of that in nonfertilized plots. Local addition of apatite stimulated the EM mycelial growth in N-treated plots.
  • • The negative influence of N on the growth of external EM mycelium observed earlier in laboratory studies was confirmed in the present field study. The growth of EM mycelia was not directly related to N concentration in the soil but rather to the N status of the trees, although other factors induced by the N treatment may also have influenced EM mycelial growth.

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