Using mycorrhiza-defective mutant genotypes of non-legume plant species to study the formation and functioning of arbuscular mycorrhiza: a review

Watts-Williams, S.J.; Cavagnaro, T.R.

Mycorrhiza 25(8): 587-597


ISSN/ISBN: 1432-1890
PMID: 25862569
DOI: 10.1007/s00572-015-0639-2
Accession: 059221488

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A significant challenge facing the study of arbuscular mycorrhiza is the establishment of suitable non-mycorrhizal treatments that can be compared with mycorrhizal treatments. A number of options are available, including soil disinfection or sterilisation, comparison of constitutively mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plant species, comparison of plants grown in soils with different inoculum potential and the comparison of mycorrhiza-defective mutant genotypes with their mycorrhizal wild-type progenitors. Each option has its inherent advantages and limitations. Here, the potential to use mycorrhiza-defective mutant and wild-type genotype plant pairs as tools to study the functioning of mycorrhiza is reviewed. The emphasis of this review is placed on non-legume plant species, as mycorrhiza-defective plant genotypes in legumes have recently been extensively reviewed. It is concluded that non-legume mycorrhiza-defective mutant and wild-type pairs are useful tools in the study of mycorrhiza. However, the mutant genotypes should be well characterised and, ideally, meet a number of key criteria. The generation of more mycorrhiza-defective mutant genotypes in agronomically important plant species would be of benefit, as would be more research using these genotype pairs, especially under field conditions.