Plant interactions with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi have long attracted interest for their potential to promote more efficient use of mineral resources in agriculture. Their use, however, remains limited by a lack of understanding of the processes that determine the outcome of the symbiosis. In this study, the impact of host genotype on growth response to mycorrhizal inoculation was investigated in a panel of diverse maize lines. A panel of 30 maize lines was evaluated with and without inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. The line Oh43 was identified to show superior response and, along with five other reference lines, was characterized in greater detail in a split-compartment system, using 33 P to quantify mycorrhizal phosphorus uptake. Changes in relative growth indicated variation in host capacity to profit from the symbiosis. Shoot phosphate content, abundance of root-internal and -external fungal structures, mycorrhizal phosphorus uptake, and accumulation of transcripts encoding plant PHT1 family phosphate transporters varied among lines. Superior response in Oh43 is correlated with extensive development of root-external hyphae, accumulation of specific Pht1 transcripts and high phosphorus uptake by mycorrhizal plants. The data indicate that host genetic factors influence fungal growth strategy with an impact on plant performance.
- Arbuscular mycorrhiza (AM)
- Root-external hyphae