• Arbuscular mycorrhiza;
  • Collembola;
  • hyphal P transport;
  • hyphal length;
  • 32P


We examined the effect of the mycophagous Collembola Folsomia Candida Willem on the symbioses between Trifolium subterraneum L. and three arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plants were grown in pots with a central mesh bag which constituted a root-free soil compartment (RFSC) where the soil was labelled with 32P. This allowed us to study hyphal P transport as affected by the presence of Collembola in the soil with roots. The hyphal P transport was monitored by measuring the 32P content in leaflets sampled from the latest fully developed trifoliate leaf after 3, 4, 5 and 6 wk. Measurements on each plant after 6 wk furthermore included total contents of 32P and 31P, root length and length of hyphae inside the mesh bag. The presence of F, Candida reduced the average hyphal 32P transport from the RFSC by 12% and the average AM hyphal length in the RFSC was reduced by 30%. The root dry weights of mycorrhizal plants were also reduced by the presence of Collembola. The reduction in total hyphal 32P transport was not revealed by the data from the time-course study using leaflet samples, which demonstrates the uncertainty of analyses of AM fungal activity based solely on measurements of leaf materials.

The results from this work suggest that F. Candida grazed on roots and/or hyphae of AM; however, shoot yields were unaffected by this grazing. In conclusion, Collembola seemed to have little effect on the functioning of AM fungi.