Different mycorrhizal fungal strains determine plant community response to nitrogen and water availability

Laura B. Martínez-García*, Raúl Ochoa-Hueso, Esteban Manrique, Francisco I. Pugnaire

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Most research on the mycorrhizal positive-negative responsiveness continuum (or "mutualism-parasitism continuum") has focused on individual plant species growing at different levels of P availability. Here, we explore this continuum in an experimental plant community inoculated with three arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal strains (both single and mixed) growing under four resource availability scenarios. These scenarios are a factorial combination of two levels of water and N availability. Each AM fungal strain had a different origin: an arid ecosystem, a farmland, and a mine. We hypothesized that the response of the plant community to mycorrhizal inoculum would depend on the associated AM fungal strain and would be negatively related with increased nitrogen and water availability. Our results showed that mixed-strain AM fungal inoculation had more positive effects along a wider range of water and N availability scenarios than single-strain inoculation. In contrast, mycorrhizal growth response of plants inoculated with a single AM fungal strain shifted from positive to neutral and negative depending on resource availability. Adaptation of each strain to its local conditions might confer different properties to the mycorrhizal symbiosis. Therefore, we conclude that AM fungal origin and environmental limiting resources are crucial factors to predict plant community mycorrhizal growth response in changing ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-154
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Mycorrhizal growth response
  • Mycorrhizal origin
  • Nutrient uptake
  • Positive-negative responsiveness continuum
  • Resource-availability scenarios


Dive into the research topics of 'Different mycorrhizal fungal strains determine plant community response to nitrogen and water availability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this