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Transfer of 13C between paired Douglas-fir seedlings reveals plant kinship effects and uptake of exudates by ectomycorrhizas

Pickles, B. J., Wilhelm, R., Asay, A. K., Hahn, A. S., Simard, S. W. and Mohn, W. W. (2017) Transfer of 13C between paired Douglas-fir seedlings reveals plant kinship effects and uptake of exudates by ectomycorrhizas. New Phytologist, 214 (1). pp. 400-411. ISSN 1469-8137

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1111/nph.14325

Abstract/Summary

• Processes governing the fixation, partitioning, and mineralization of carbon in soils are under increasing scrutiny as we develop a more comprehensive understanding of global carbon cycling. Here we examined fixation by Douglas-fir seedlings and transfer to associated ectomycorrhizal fungi, soil microbes, and full-sibling or non-sibling neighbouring seedlings. • Stable isotope probing with 99% 13C-CO2 was applied to trace 13C-labelled photosynthate throughout plants, fungi, and soil microbes in an experiment designed to assess the effect of relatedness on 13C-transfer between plant pairs. The fixation and transfer of 13C-label to plant, fungal, and soil microbial tissue was examined in biomass and PLFAs. • After a 6-day chase period, approximately 26.8% of the 13C remaining in the system was translocated belowground. Enrichment was proportionally greatest in ectomycorrhizal biomass. The presence of mesh barriers (0.5 or 35 µm) between seedlings did not restrict 13C-transfer. • Fungi were the primary recipients of 13C-labelled photosynthate throughout the system, representing 60–70% of total 13C-enriched phospholipids. Full-sibling pairs exhibited significantly greater 13C-transfer to recipient roots in two of four Douglas-fir families, representing 3- and 4-fold increases (+ approx. 4 µg excess 13C) compared to non-sibling pairs. The existence of a root/mycorrhizal exudation – hyphal uptake pathway was supported.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:67532
Publisher:Wiley

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