Carbon transport by symbiotic fungi in fourwing saltbush, <i>Atriplex canescens</i> (Pursh) Nutt.

TitleCarbon transport by symbiotic fungi in fourwing saltbush, Atriplex canescens (Pursh) Nutt.
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsBarrow J.R.
Conference NameProceedings of the 11th Wildland Shrub Symposium
VolumeRMRS P-21
Date PublishedJune 13-15, 2000
PublisherUSDA Forest Service Proceedings RMRS-P-00.2001
Conference LocationProvo, UT
ARIS Log Number118753
KeywordsAtriplex canescens, carbon, fourwing saltbush, Mycorrhizal fungi, plant survival
AbstractMycorrhizal fungi enhance the nutrition and survival of host plants in native ecosystems. Arid rangelands severely challenge plants because of chronic nutrient and water stress. Fourwing saltbush, Atriplex canescens (Pursh) Nutt., a dominant and important shrub of western arid rangelands, generally considered to be non-mycorrhizal, is more extensively colonized by dark septate (DS) fungal endophytes than by traditional mycorrhizal fungi. Roots of fourwing saltbush colonized by DS fungi were stained with sudan IV and analyzed with differential interference microscopy which revealed extensive internal colonization by vacuolated hyaline hyphae that is not evident using conventional fungus staining methods. Fungal vacuoles accumulated substantial quantities of lipids in the sieve elements and cortex when roots were physiologically active. The widespread colonization of fourwing saltbush by DS fungi and their extensive accumulation of lipids ssuggests that these fungi transport and manage carbon in arid ecosystems. Their potential role in ecosystems stability is discussed.