We used synchrotron X-ray computed tomography (SXRCT) to visualize mycorrhizas in soil, and synchrotron X-ray fluorescence (XRF/XANES) elemental mapping for phosphorus (P), sulphur (S) and aluminium (Al), in combination with modelling.
We found that AMF inoculation had a suppressive effect on colonisation by other soil fungi and identified differences in structure and growth rate between hyphae of AMF and nonmycorrhizal fungi. Results showed that AMF co-locate with areas of high P and low Al, andpreferentially associate with organic-type P species in preference to Al-rich inorganic P.
We discovered that AMF avoid Al-rich areas as a source of P. S-rich regions correlated with higher hyphal density and an increased organic-associated P-pool, whilst oxidized S-species were found close to AMF hyphae. Increased S oxidation close to AMF suggested the observed changes were microbiome-related. Our experimentally-validated model led to an estimate of P-uptake by AMF hyphae that is an order of magnitude lower than rates previously estimated; a result with significant implications for modelling of plant-soil-AMF interactions.
- plant phosphorus uptake
- rhizosphere modelling
- X-ray Computed Tomography
- X-ray fluorescence