THE STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF THE VEGETATIVE MYCELIUM OF ECTOMYCORRHIZAL PLANTS

II. THE UPTAKE AND DISTRIBUTION OF PHOSPHORUS BY MYCELIAL STRANDS INTERCONNECTING HOST PLANTS

Authors


SUMMARY

Using perspex observation chambers, the uptake, translocation and distribution of 32P-labelled phosphorus was studied in ectomycorrhizal mycelial networks of Suillus bovinus (Fr.) O. Kuntze interconnecting plants of Pinus contorta Dougl. ex Loud and Pinus sylvestris L. Label was fed either directly to the cut ends of individual mycelial strands, to plant roots, or to the unsterile peat in the vicinity of advancing mycelial fans. Where 32P was fed to individual strands or mycelial fans it was taken up and translocated through the mycelium, over distances exceeding 40 cm, to all host plants connected to the mycelial network. Ectomycorrhizal roots acted as major sinks for phosphate but the label did not move exclusively towards the plant and was distributed throughout the mycelial system. Calculated translocation rates and flux rates suggest that transport is primarily by symplastic flow rather than turgor driven bulk flow. The amount of label accumulated by each plant was significantly related both to the size of the plant shoot and to the number of mycorrhizal root tips but did not appear to be influenced by the transpiration rates of individual plants. Phosphorus supplied directly to plant roots did not move to other plants via the mycelial connections suggesting that movement of phosphorus between the fungus and host is unidirectional.

Ancillary