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Species-specific effects of mycorrhizal symbiosis on Populus trichocarpa after a lethal dose of copper

Soltangheisi, A. ORCID:, Hales-Henao, A., Pena, R. and Tibbett, M. ORCID: (2024) Species-specific effects of mycorrhizal symbiosis on Populus trichocarpa after a lethal dose of copper. Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 272. 116112. ISSN 0147-6513

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2024.116112


Poplars have been identified as heavy metals hyperaccumulators and can be used for phytoremediation. We have previously established that their symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) may alter their uptake, tolerance and distribution to excess concentrations of heavy metals in soils. In this study we hypothesised that mycorrhizal symbiosis improves the tolerance of poplars to lethal copper (Cu) concentrations, but this influence may vary among different AMF species. We conducted an experiment in a growth chamber with three Cu application levels of control (0 mg kg-1), threshold-lethal (729 mg kg-1) and supra-lethal (6561 mg kg-1), and three mycorrhizal treatments (non-mycorrhizal, Rhizophagus irregularis, and Paraglomus laccatum) in a completely randomized design with six replications. The poplars did not grow after application of 729 mg Cu kg-1 substrate, and mycorrhizal symbiosis did not help plants to tolerate this level of Cu. This can be explained by the toxicity suffered by mycorrhizal fungi. Translocation of Cu from roots to shoots increased when plants were colonised with R. irregularis and P. laccatum under threshold-lethal and supra-lethal applications of Cu, respectively. This result shows that mycorrhizal mediation of Cu partitioning in poplars depends on the fungal species and substrate Cu concentration. Multi-model inference analysis within each mycorrhizal treatment showed that in plants colonised with R. irregularis, a higher level of mycorrhizal colonisation may prevent Cu transfer to the shoots. We did not observe this effect in P. laccatum plants probably due to the relatively low colonisation rate (14%). Nutrient concentrations in roots and shoots were impacted by applied substrate Cu levels, but not by mycorrhizas. Magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), and manganese (Mn) concentrations in roots reduced with enhancing applied substrate Cu due to their similar ionic radii with Cu and having common transport mechanism. Synergistic effect on shoot concentration between applied substrate Cu levels and Mg, K, calcium, iron (Fe), and zinc was observed. Root Cu concentration was inversely related with root K and Mn concentrations, and shoot Cu concentration had a positive correlation with shoot Fe and K concentrations. Overall, mycorrhizal symbiosis has the potential to enhance plant health and their resilience to Cu toxicity in contamination events. However, it is important to note that the effectiveness of this symbiotic relationship varies among different mycorrhizal species and is influenced by the level of contamination.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF)
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Soil Research Centre
Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Chemical Analysis Facility (CAF) > Optical Spectroscopy (CAF)
Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:115226


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