Using High-Throughput Phenotyping to Explore Growth Responses to Mycorrhizal Fungi and Zinc in Three Plant Species

S. J. Watts-Williams, N. Jewell, C. Brien, B. Berger, T. Garnett, T. R. Cavagnaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

There are many reported benefits to plants of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), including positive plant biomass responses; however, AMF can also induce biomass depressions in plants, and this response receives little attention in the literature. High-throughput phenotyping (HTP) technology permits repeated measures of an individual plant’s aboveground biomass. We examined the effect on AMF inoculation on the shoot biomass of three contrasting plant species: a vegetable crop (tomato), a cereal crop (barley), and a pasture legume (Medicago). We also considered the interaction of mycorrhizal growth responses with plant-available soil zinc (Zn) and phosphorus (P) concentrations. The appearance of a depression in shoot biomass due to inoculation with AMF occurred at different times for each plant species; depressions appeared earliest in tomato, then Medicago, and then barley. The usually positive-responding Medicago plants were not responsive at the high level of soil available P used. Mycorrhizal growth responsiveness in all three species was also highly interactive with soil Zn supply; tomato growth responded negatively to AMF inoculation in all soil Zn treatments except the toxic soil Zn treatment, where it responded positively. Our results illustrate how context-dependent mycorrhizal growth responses are and the value of HTP approaches to exploring the complexity of mycorrhizal responses.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5893953
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Phenomics
Volume2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Growth response
  • High-throughput phenotyping
  • Mycorrhizal fungus

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