Effects of plant roots and arbuscular mycorrhizas on soil phosphorus leaching

Cuc T.K. Tran, Stephanie J. Watts-Williams, Ronald J. Smernik, Timothy R. Cavagnaro

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31 Citations (Scopus)


While the impact of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) on phosphorus (P) uptake is well understood, the mechanism(s) of how these fungi affect P leaching from soil is still unclear. Here we present results of a study in which we grew a mycorrhiza-defective tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) genotype (named rmc) and its mycorrhizal wild-type progenitor (named 76R) in microcosms containing non-sterile soil, to examine the influence of roots and AMF on P leaching. More P was leached from the planted microcosms as compared to the plant-free controls. Further, although there was more plant biomass and greater P uptake in the mycorrhizal plant treatments, these treatments were associated with the most leaching of total P, reactive P, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC). There was a strong correlation between the total P and DOC leached, suggesting that root and fungal exudates may have affected P leaching. These findings provide new insights into the impact of roots and AMF on nutrient leaching in soils.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137847
Number of pages9
JournalScience of The Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • Dissolved organic carbon
  • Mycorrhiza-defective tomato mutant
  • Phosphorus
  • Reactive phosphorus
  • Unreactive phosphorus


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