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Does partial mycoheterotrophy also occur in arbuscular mycorrhiza? A multi-element isotope abundance analysis.


Von 01/2017 bis 12/2019

Project Manager:: Gerhard Gebauer
Contributors: Philipp Giesemann

Mycorrhiza - the coexistence of fungi and plants - is one of the most important and common phenomena of organism interaction in biology. Myco-heterotrophy shows that mycorrhiza exists not only for mutual benefit (mutualism). Mycoheterotrophic lifestyle can be explored, elucidated, and quantified using stable isotopes (2H, 13C, 15N, 18O) through the comparative enrichment of the heavy isotopes. It is suggested that the first terrestrial plants may have been myco-heterotrophs because some ferns were not photosynthetically active throughout their lives and possessed mycorrhizae to access soil nutrients. They did not have an established root system and therefore relied on mycorrhizal fungi. Horsetails - recent relatives of the first terrestrial plant life (Ordovician/Silurian) - show a similar isotopic signature to myco-heterotrophic plants. Plants with a particular type of arbuscular mycorrhiza (Paris-type), which includes the horsetails, also show a tendency to enrich in the 13C isotope. Can Paris-type be a prerequisite for mycoheterotrophy among arbuscular mycorrhizal plants? Can horsetails be transferred to mycoheterotrophy? If horsetails should have been myco-heterotrophic, which plant was exploited via the fungus?


• Giesemann, P., Rasmussen, H., Gebauer, G.: Partial mycoheterotrophy is common among chlorophyllous plants with Paris-type arbuscular mycorrhiza. Annals of Botany, 127(5), 645-653 (2021), doi:10.1093/aob/mcab003

• Giesemann, P., Eichenberg, D., Stöckel, M., Seifert, L., Gomes, S., Merckx, V., Gebauer, G.: Dark septate endophytes and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Paris‐morphotype) affect the stable isotope composition of 'classically' non-mycorrhizal plants. Functional Ecology, 34(12), 2453-2466 (2020), doi:10.1111/1365-2435.13673

• Giesemann, P; Rasmussen, HN; Liebel, HT; Gebauer, G: Discreet heterotrophs: Green plants that receive fungal carbon through Paris-type arbuscular mycorrhiza, New Phytologist, 226, 960-966 (2020), doi:10.1111/nph.16367

• Hoysted, GA; Jacob, AS; Kowal, J; Giesemann, P; Bidartondo, MI; Duckett, JG; Gebauer, G; Rimington, WR; Schornack, S; Pressel, S; Field, KJ: Mucoromycotina fine root endophyte fungi form nutritional mutualisms with vascular plants, Plant Physiology, 181, 565-577 (2019), doi:10.1104/pp.19.00729

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