The development of endomycorrhizal root systems

VIII. Effects of soil phosphorus and fungal colonization on the concentration of soluble carbohydrates in roots



Concentrations of phosphorus in shoot and soluble carbohydrates (fructose, glucose, sucrose and fructans) in root were measured in non-mycorrhizal and vesicular-arbuscular (VA) mycorrhizal (Glomus mosseae) leek plants (Allium porrum) raised at six concentrations of soil phosphate. In conditions when an increased concentration of soil phosphate reduced VA mycorrhizal infection, the concentrations of soluble carbohydrates in the root were at a maximum. Therefore the hypothesis that greater concentrations of soluble carbohydrates in roots favour VA mycorrhizal infection is discounted. There was a specific effect of VA mycorrhizas, in that infected roots contained a larger concentration of sucrose than did uninfected roots, in plants with similar phosphorus concentrations in dry matter of shoots.

We conclude, first, that increased phosphorus supply from either phosphate addition to soil or VA mycorrhizal infection increases concentration of soluble carbohydrates in leek roots and, secondly, that the VA mycorrhizal root behaves as a particularly strong physiological sink when there is an excess concentration of sucrose in the host.