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Responses of ectomycorrhizal American elm (Ulmus americana) seedlings to salinity and soil compaction

Polanco, M.-Calvo; Zwiazek, J., J.; Voicu, M., C.

Plant and Soil 308(1-2): 189-200

2008


ISSN/ISBN: 0032-079X
Accession: 023519661

American elm (Ulmus americana) seedlings were either non-inoculated or inoculated with Hebeloma crustuliniforme, Laccaria bicolor and a mixture of the two fungi to study the effects of ectomycorrhizal associations on seedling responses to soil compaction and salinity. The seedlings were grown in the greenhouse in pots containing non-compacted (0.4 g cm(-3) bulk density) and compacted (0.6 g cm(-3) bulk density) soil and subjected to 60 mM NaCl or 0 mM NaCl (control) treatments for 3 weeks. All three fungal inocula had similar effects on the responses of elm seedlings to soil compaction and salt treatment. In non-compacted soil, ectomycorrhizal fungi reduced plant dry weights, root hydraulic conductance, but did not affect leaf hydraulic conductance and net photosynthesis. When treated with 60 mM NaCl, ectomycorrhizal seedlings had several-fold lower leaf concentrations of Na+ compared with the non-inoculated plants. Soil compaction reduced Na+ leaf concentrations in non-ectomycorrhizal plants and decreased dry weights, gas exchange and root hydraulic conductance. However, in ectomycorrhizal plants, soil compaction had little effect on the leaf Na+ concentrations and on other measured growth and physiological parameters. Our results demonstrated that ECM associations could be highly beneficial to plants growing in sites with compacted soil such as urban areas.

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