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Comparative growth of ectomycorrhizal fungi (Hebeloma spp.) on organic and inorganic nitrogen

Tibbett, M., Dowell, M. and Hartley, S. (2000) Comparative growth of ectomycorrhizal fungi (Hebeloma spp.) on organic and inorganic nitrogen. Journal of Basic Microbiology, 40 (5-6). pp. 393-395. ISSN 0233-111X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/1521-4028(200012)40:5/6<393::AID-JOBM393>3.0.CO;2-2


In the largely organic soils in which ectomycorrhizas are commonly found, a preference for absorbing organic nitrogen over mineral forms is likely to be an advantage, especially where mineralisation rates are low. To determine rates of both independent and preferential growth of ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetes on organic and inorganic nitrogen, strains of Hebeloma were grown on nutrient agar media containing either NH4+ or glutamic acid as the sole source of nitrogen, on both single medium and split plate Petri dishes. Growth rates on the split plate Petri dishes, where the fungi had access to both nitrogen sources, were generally greater than on the single medium dishes. Growth on glutamic acid was at least equal to, and usually greater than, that on NH4+. In some cases growth on NH4+ alone appeared severely inhibited, a condition that was partially alleviated by access to glutamic acid on the split plates Petri dishes. This highlights a potential pitfall of single nitrogen source growth studies. The greater growth of most strains on glutamic acid suggests an adaptation to organic nitrogen utilisation in these strains. If this is so in soils with low mineralisation rates, direct uptake of amino acids by ectomycorrhizal plants could by-pass the bottle neck that requires mineral nitrogen to be made available for plant uptake.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:45471

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