Andrino, A.; Boy, J.; Mikutta, R.; Sauheitl, L.; Guggenberger, G.: Carbon Investment Required for the Mobilization of Inorganic and Organic Phosphorus Bound to Goethite by an Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (Solanum lycopersicum x Rhizophagus irregularis). In: Frontiers in Environmental Science 7 (2019), 26. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2019.00026
Nutrient supply in phosphorus (P)-limited ecosystems, with most P being associated with secondary minerals, has to rely on efficient nutrient allocation strategies, such as those involving mycorrhizal symbioses. Yet, little is known about the extent of photo-assimilate transfer to the fungal partner, who in turn mobilizes mineral-bound P sources required by the plant. This study aims to explore the carbon (C)–P trade between an arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) plant and its ability to incorporate P from differently accessible P sources. We compared P uptake rates of AM plants for orthophosphate (OP) and phytic acid (PA), applied to mesocosms in either dissolved form or bound to goethite (α-FeOOH). The design of the mesocosms allowed the plant to only access the P in the fungal compartment via the AM hyphae. We hypothesized the AM plant to invest more C into the symbiosis, if P is present in the less accessible form. To estimate the C budget of the symbiosis, we determined total organic carbon (OC), 16:1ω5c phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA; AM fungi extraradical mycelium), 16:1ω5c neutral lipid fatty acid (NLFA; AM fungi energy storage), and CO2 cumulative respiration in the fungal compartment. A ratio to the total C translocated into the fungal compartment (OC+CO2-C cumulative respiration) and the P incorporated into the AM plant (Total C/P) was calculated to estimate the C investment made by the AM plant into its symbiotic partner. AM plants incorporated P derived from all four P sources exclusively via the mycorrhizal pathway in different amounts and kinetics. The Total C/P ratio was significantly larger for those AM plants accessing the goethite-bound P compounds. They also transferred significantly larger amounts of PLFA and NLFA to their fungal partner, both indicating a larger plant C investment per P taken up. Our data provide first evidence about the ability of an AM plant to incorporate P from an organic source bound to a secondary mineral. The different C investments of AM plants into P allocation from variably available sources suggests a broad nexus between P mining strategies, resource partitioning in soil, and the amounts of C accumulated in terrestrial soils
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