• Zea mays;
  • Glomus versiforme;
  • mycorrhiza;
  • appressoria;
  • arbuscule;
  • phosphorus


The morphology of the colonization of maize (Zea mays L.) by the vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus versiforme (Daniels and Trappe) Berch was determined quantitatively to establish the stage at which colonization was limited in response to increased P nutrition. Harvests were taken 14, 19, 24 and 29 d after planting maize in a calcined clay medium to which nutrient solution containing 0.16, 0.8 or 2.4 mM P was added daily. The fraction of the root length containing arbuscules (FAC) 19 d after planting was 0.4 with 0.16 mM P, 0.3, with 0.8 mM P and 0.17 with 2.4 mM P. Corresponding shoot P concentrations were 1.5, 2.0 and 3.2 mg g−l. Increased shoot P concentration reduced the number of appressoria per unit root length, but this accounted for only a part of the reduction in FAC. Increased root length did not account for the effect of shoot P concentration on FAC. The length of arbuscular colonized root length (total root length × FAC) per appressorium was strongly reduced in response to increased shoot P concentration. It was concluded that the reduction in FAC was mediated primarily through an inhibition of intra-radical development.