Effects of different Kalahari-desert VA mycorrhizal communities on mineral acquisition and depletion from the soil by host plants
Seedlings of Vangueria infausta, an indigenous Kalahari tree, were used as plant symbionts in a pot experiment designed to measure the effect of three local vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungal communities on mineral acquisition and concentrations in host shoots. VAM significantly affected seedlings size. The highest level of VAM mycorrhizae occurred in soil with intermediate P concentration. Two VAM communities had the highest mycorrhizal response in their soils of origin. The presence of VAM caused a significant depletion of P from soils. VAM communities differed in their ability to promote P, Ca and N uptake. A significant interaction between VAM community and soil type - in terms of Ca and N concentration in shoots - indicates a local adaptation of the VAM species. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.