High functional diversity within species of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi


Author for correspondence: Lisa Munkvold Tel: +45 46774210 Fax: +45 46774202 Email: lisa.munkvold@risoe.dk


  • • Species of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) differ markedly in their improvement of plant nutrition and health. However, it is not yet possible to relate the diversity of an AMF community to its functional properties due to the lack of information on the functional diversity at each taxonomic level. This study investigates the inter- and intraspecific functional diversity of four Glomus species in relation to a phylogenetic analysis of large ribosomal subunit (LSU) sequences.
  • • Growth and P nutrition of cucumber (Cucumis sativus) associated with 24 different isolates of AMF were measured in a two-compartment system with a 33P-labelled root-free soil compartment.
  • • Intraspecific differences were found in plant growth response and the extension of the fungal mycelium into the root-free soil patch whereas length-specific P uptake of the hyphae remained rather constant within each AMF species. Hence, the length-specific P uptake differed according to species, whereas lower phylogenetic levels were required to match functional characteristics such as fungal growth pattern and plant growth promotion.
  • • The large intraspecific diversity observed for mycelium growth and improvement of P uptake means that AMF communities of low species diversity may still contain considerable functional heterogeneity.