Sensitivity of jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata) to phosphate, phosphite, and arsenate pulses as influenced by fungal symbiotic associations

Khalil Kariman, Susan Barker, Ricarda Jost, Patrick Finnegan, M. Tibbett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015, The Author(s).Many plant species adapted to P-impoverished soils, including jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata), develop toxicity symptoms when exposed to high doses of phosphate (Pi) and its analogs such as phosphite (Phi) and arsenate (AsV). The present study was undertaken to investigate the effects of fungal symbionts Scutellospora calospora, Scleroderma sp., and Austroboletus occidentalis on the response of jarrah to highly toxic pulses (1.5 mmol kg−1 soil) of Pi, Phi, and AsV. S. calospora formed an arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis while both Scleroderma sp. and A. occidentalis established a non-colonizing symbiosis with jarrah plants. All these interactions significantly improved jarrah growth and Pi uptake under P-limiting conditions. The AM fungal colonization naturally declines in AM-eucalypt symbioses after 2–3 months; however, in the present study, the high Pi pulse inhibited the decline of AM fungal colonization in jarrah. Four weeks after exposure to the Pi pulse, plants inoculated with S. calospora had significantly lower toxicity symptoms compared to non-mycorrhizal (NM) plants, and all fungal treatments induced tolerance against Phi toxicity in jarrah. However, no tolerance was observed for AsV-treated plants even though all inoculated plants had significantly lower shoot As concentrations than the NM plants. The transcript profile of five jarrah high-affinity phosphate transporter (PHT1 family) genes in roots was not altered in response to any of the fungal species tested. Interestingly, plants exposed to high Pi supplies for 1 day did not have reduced transcript levels for any of the five PHT1 genes in roots, and transcript abundance of four PHT1 genes actually increased. It is therefore suggested that jarrah, and perhaps other P-sensitive perennial species, respond positively to Pi available in the soil solution through increasing rather than decreasing the expression of selected PHT1 genes. Furthermore, Scleroderma sp. can be considered as a fungus with dual functional capacity capable of forming both ectomycorrhizal and non-colonizing associations, where both pathways are always accompanied by evident growth and nutritional benefits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-415
Number of pages15
Issue number5
Early online date26 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


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