Comparative Water Relations and Photosynthesis of Mycorrhizal and Non-Mycorrhizal Bouteloua-Gracilis HBK Lag Ex Steud
journal contributionposted on 01.01.1981, 00:00 by Michael F. Allen, W. K. Smith, T. S. Moore, M. Christensen
The rangeland grass, Bouteloua gracilis was inoculated with its mycorrhizal symbiont, Glomus fasciculatus, to determine the influence of vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae on water status, stomatal behaviour and photosynthesis as well as gross plant morphology, biomass and phosphorus content. Mycorrhizal infection increased transpiration rates by over 100% with 50 to 70% lower leaf resistance to water vapour diffusion. Leaf xylem pressure was not different between mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plants indicating that whole-plant resistance to water transport was reduced by more than 50%. Photosynthetic rates under saturating light conditions increased 68% with infection as a consequence of a 33% reduction in stomatal resistance and 67% reduction in mesophyll resistance to CO₂ uptake. Mycorrhizal infection did not affect biomass or gross plant morphology after 30 weeks of growth, but increased chlorophyll and phosphate concentrations by 28% and 70% respectively. These physiological changes indicate that mycorrhizae may substantially alter survival ability of Bouteloua gracilis.