Most terrestrial plants associate with root-colonising mycorrhizal fungi, which improve the fitness of both the fungal and plant associates. However, exceptions exist both between and within plant families failing to associate with mycorrhizal fungi or in the incidence and the extent of mycotrophy, which may vary greatly. Sedges are important pioneers of disturbed habitats and often dominate vegetations like wetlands, and arctic and alpine vegetations, in which the mycorrhizal inoculum in the soil is often low or absent. In the past, sedges were often designated as non-mycorrhizal, though limited reports indicated the presence of mycorrhiza in certain species. However, studies since 1987 indicate widespread occurrence of mycorrhiza in sedges. Based on these studies, the family Cyperaceae is no longer a non-mycorrhizal family, but the mycorrhizal status of its members is greatly influenced by environmental conditions. Further, sedges appear to have several morphological adaptations to thrive in the absence of mycorrhizal association. Though mycorrhizal associations have been noted in many sedge species, the ecological role of this association is not well documented and no clear generalisation can be drawn. Similarly, the role of mycorrhizal fungi on sedge growth and nutrient uptake or non-nutritional benefits has yet to be fully ascertained. This paper reviews the current information available on the incidence of mycorrhiza in sedges and the possible reasons for low mycotrophy observed in this family.
We investigated roots of 107 medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) in the Western Ghats region of Southern India for arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and dark septate endophyte (DSE) associations. Of the 107 MAPs belonging to 98 genera in 52 families examined, 79 were AM and 38 harbored a DSE association. Typical Arum- and Paris-type mycorrhizas are first reported in the presumed nonmycorrhizal family Amaranthaceae. Similarly, DSE associations are recorded for the first time in nine plant families and 37 plant species. Thirty MAPs had both AM and DSE associations. The number of MAPs having Arum-type mycorrhiza was greater than those having Paris-type. This was more prominent among herbaceous plants than in trees where the Paris-type was predominant. Similarly, the Arum-type was more prevalent in annuals than in perennials. DSE associations were more frequent in herbs and perennials compared to other MAPs.
We examined plants growing in four tropical vegetation types (primary forest, secondary forest, limestone forest and a slash and burn field) in Xishuangbanna, southwest China for mycorrhizal associations. Of the 103 plant species examined (belonging to 47 families), 81 had arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) associations, while three species possessed orchid mycorrhiza. AM colonization levels ranged between 6% and 91% and spore numbers ranged between 1.36 spores and 25.71 spores per 10 g soil. Mean AM colonization level was higher in primary and secondary forest species than in plant species from limestone forests and a slash and burn field. In contrast, mean AM fungal spore numbers of the primary and limestone forest were lower than in the secondary forest or the slash and burn field. AM fungal spores belonging to Glomus and Acaulospora were the most frequent in soils of Xishuangbanna. AM fungal colonization and spore numbers were significantly correlated to each other and were significantly influenced by vegetation type.
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