Mycorrhizal dependence of Andropogon gerardii and Schizachyrium scoparium in two prairie soils

TitleMycorrhizal dependence of Andropogon gerardii and Schizachyrium scoparium in two prairie soils
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1994
AuthorsAnderson, RC, Hetrick, BAD, Wilson, GT
JournalAmerican Midland Naturalist
Pagination366 -376
Accession NumberKNZ00432

Previous research in tallgrass prairie in Kansas indicated that warm-season, C4, grasses are obligate mycotrophs and do not grow normally in the absence of mycorrhizal symbiosis. However, the degree to which such grasses depend on mycorrhizae in other prairie soils has not been examined. Growth and mycorrhizal colonization of roots of Andropogon gerardii and Schizachyrium scoparium were compared in soil collected from Konza Prairie Research Natural Area (KPRNA), Riley County, Kansas and from Sand Ridge State Forest (SRSF), Mason County, Illinois. Plants of both species were grown in the two soils and were inoculated with Glomus etunicatum spores originally collected from KPRNA or colonized root pieces from S. scoparium plants collected from SRSF. Glomus etunicatum inoculum resulted in significantly greater root colonization and biomass of both plant species in steamed KPRNA soil than did root piece inoculum. There was no benefit from inoculation in non-sterile soil which contained indigenous mycorrhizal fungi. In SRSF soil, there was no response to inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi from either source. The lack of mycorrhizal response in SRSF soil is attributed to the greater plant-available P level of this soil. For S. scoparium grown in SRSF soil, plants grown in steamed soil produced more biomass than plants grown in steamed soil amended with nonsterile soil sievings (containing soil organisms other than mycorrhizal fungi), or in nonsterile soil. These differences could be due to competition for inorganic nutrients between soil microbes and the plant or antagonistic relationships between the plant or the mycorrhizal association and the soil microbes. Thus, the mycorrhizal dependence of these plant species is related to both soil and inoculum type or species.