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BayCenSI - Center for Stable Isotope Research in Ecology and Biogeochemistry

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Nitrogen transport between mycorrhizal fungi and mycoheterotrophic plant

Funding: BaCaTeC

From 01/2008 to 12/2009

Principal Investigator: Gerhard Gebauer
Staff: Katja Preiß

Most plants are forming a close partnership with fungi in their rhizosphere. In this mycorrhizal symbiosis, plants usually provide their fungal partners with carbohydrates from the photosynthesis and receive mineral nutrients, which are more efficiently being taken up from the soil through the fungal mycelium. This mutualistic arrangement has been subverted worldwide by a few hundreds of plant species that are free from chlorophyll and thus lack the ability to photosynthesize. This nutrition at the cost of the fungal partner is called mycoheterotrophy. The most numerous examples of this behaviour are found among the orchids and Ericaceae. Using innovative analytical techniques (abundance analysis of stable C and N isotopes, fungal DNA analysis in plant roots), the two research groups involved in this project were the first to show that in a similar way also apparently autotrophic plants can partially gain nutrients on the cost of the fungal partner. In this collaboration the form and function of nitrogen transport between fungi and mycoheterotrophic plants will be examined for the first time.

•  Hynson, NA; Schiebold, JMI; Gebauer, G: Plant family identity distinguishes patterns of carbon and nitrogen stable isotope abundance and nitrogen concentration in mycoheterotrophic plants associated with ectomycorrhizal fungi., Annals of Botany, 118, 467-479 (2016), doi:10.1093/aob/mcw119
•  Hynson, NA; Madsen, TP; Selosse, MA; Adam, IKU; Ogura-Tsujita, Y; Roy, M; Gebauer, G: The Physiological Ecology of Mycoheterotrophy in V.S.F.T. Merckx: Mycoheterotrophy: The Biology of Plants Living on Fungi, Springer-Verlag, 297-342 (2013), doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-5209-6_8
•  Hynson, NA; Weiß, M; Preiß, K; Gebauer, G; Treseder, KK: Fungal host specificity is not a bottleneck for the initial germination of Pyroleae species (Ericaceae) in a Bavarian forest, Molecular Ecology, 22, 1473-1481 (2013), doi:10.1111/mec.12180
•  Hynson, NA; Preiß, K; Gebauer, G; Bruns, TD: Isotopic evidence of full and partial myco-heterotrophy in the plant tribe Pyroleae (Ericaceae), New Phytologist, 182, 719-726 (2009), doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.02781.x
•  Hynson, NA; Preiß, K; Gebauer, G: Is it better to give than receive? A stable isotope perspective to orchid-fungal carbon transport in the green orchid species Goodyera repens and Goodyera oblongifolia, New Phytologist, 182, 8-11 (2009), doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.02778.x

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