Carbon and phosphorus exchange may enable cooperation between an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus and a phosphate-solubilizing bacterium

zhang-headerJournal: New Phytologist

Authors: Lin Zhang, Minggang Xu, Yu Liu, Fusuo Zhang, Angela Hodge, Gu Feng


  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) transfer plant photosynthate underground which can stimulate soil microbial growth. In this study, we examined whether there was a potential link between carbon (C) release from an AMF and phosphorus (P) availability via a phosphate-solubilizing bacterium (PSB).
  • We investigated the outcome of the interaction between the AMF and the PSB by conducting a microcosm and two Petri plate experiments. An in vitro culture experiment was also conducted to determine the direct impact of AMF hyphal exudates on growth of the PSB.
  • The AMF released substantial C to the environment, triggering PSB growth and activity. In return, the PSB enhanced mineralization of organic P, increasing P availability for the AMF. When soil available P was low, the PSB competed with the AMF for P, and its activity was not stimulated by the fungus. When additional P was added to increase soil available P, the PSB enhanced AMF hyphal growth, and PSB activity was also stimulated by the fungus.
  • Our results suggest that an AMF and a free-living PSB interacted to the benefit of each other by providing the C or P that the other microorganism required, but these interactions depended upon background P availability.


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