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Research article2019Peer reviewed

Mycorrhizal types differ in ecophysiology and alter plant nutrition and soil processes

Tedersoo, Leho; Bahram, Mohammad


Mycorrhizal fungi benefit plants by improved mineral nutrition and protection against stress, yet information about fundamental differences among mycorrhizal types in fungi and trees and their relative importance in biogeochemical processes is only beginning to accumulate. We critically review and synthesize the ecophysiological differences in ectomycorrhizal, ericoid mycorrhizal and arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses and the effect of these mycorrhizal types on soil processes from local to global scales. We demonstrate that guilds of mycorrhizal fungi display substantial differences in genome-encoded capacity for mineral nutrition, particularly acquisition of nitrogen and phosphorus from organic material. Mycorrhizal associations alter the trade-off between allocation to roots or mycelium, ecophysiological traits such as root exudation, weathering, enzyme production, plant protection, and community assembly as well as response to climate change. Mycorrhizal types exhibit differential effects on ecosystem carbon and nutrient cycling that affect global elemental fluxes and may mediate biome shifts in response to global change. We also note that most studies performed to date have not been properly replicated and collectively suffer from strong geographical sampling bias towards temperate biomes. We advocate that combining carefully replicated field experiments and controlled laboratory experiments with isotope labelling and -omics techniques offers great promise towards understanding differences in ecophysiology and ecosystem services among mycorrhizal types.


ectomycorrhiza; arbuscular mycorrhiza; ericoid mycorrhiza; plant mineral nutrition; ecosystem processes; comparative genomics; community dynamics; competition

Published in

Biological Reviews
2019, Volume: 94, number: 5, pages: 1857-1880
Publisher: WILEY

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    SLU Plant Protection Network

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