Aboveground resource allocation in response to root herbivory as affected by the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis

Frew, Adam and Powell, Jeff R. and Johnson, Scott N. (2020) Aboveground resource allocation in response to root herbivory as affected by the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. Plant and Soil, 447 (1-2). pp. 463-473. ISSN 0032-079X


Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi associate with the majority of terrestrial plants, influencing their growth, nutrient uptake and defence chemistry. Consequently, AM fungi can significantly impact plant-herbivore interactions, yet surprisingly few studies have investigated how AM fungi affect plant responses to root herbivores. This study aimed to investigate how AM fungi affect plant tolerance mechanisms to belowground herbivory.

We examined how AM fungi affect plant (Saccharum spp. hybrid) growth, nutrient dynamics and secondary chemistry (phenolics) in response to attack from a root-feeding insect (Dermolepida albohirtum).

Root herbivory reduced root mass by almost 27%. In response, plants augmented investment in aboveground biomass by 25%, as well as increasing carbon concentrations. The AM fungi increased aboveground biomass, phosphorus and carbon. Meanwhile, root herbivory increased foliar phenolics by 31% in mycorrhizal plants, and increased arbuscular colonisation of roots by 75% overall. AM fungi also decreased herbivore performance, potentially via increasing root silicon concentrations.

Our results suggest that AM fungi may be able to augment plant tolerance to root herbivory via resource allocation aboveground and, at the same time, enhance plant root resistance by increasing root silicon. The ability of AM fungi to facilitate resource allocation aboveground in this way may be a more widespread strategy for plants to cope with belowground herbivory.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online: 18 Dec 2019. Permanent restricted access to ArticleFirst version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Sciences (6 Sep 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Crop Health (24 Mar 2014 -)
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2020 01:08
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2021 00:35
Uncontrolled Keywords: arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi; herbivory; plant defence; tolerance; resource allocation
Fields of Research (2008): 06 Biological Sciences > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology(excl. Invasive Species Ecology)
05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050303 Soil Biology
06 Biological Sciences > 0607 Plant Biology > 060799 Plant Biology not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310302 Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology)
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4106 Soil sciences > 410603 Soil biology
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3108 Plant biology > 310899 Plant biology not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): D Environment > 96 Environment > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960804 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9614 Soils > 961402 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Soils
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-019-04399-x
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/37531

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