Physiological effects of indigenous arbuscular mycorrhizal associations on the sclerophyll Agathosma betulina (Berg.) Pillans

Cloete, Karen Jacqueline (2011-10)

Thesis (MSc)--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Mountain Fynbos biome, a division of the Cape Floristic Region (CFR), is home to round-leafed Buchu [Agathosma betulina (Berg.) Pillans], one of South Africa’s best-known endangered herbal medicinal plants. Agathosma betulina is renowned as a traditional additive to brandy or tea, which is used for the treatment of a myriad of ailments. In its natural habitat, A. betulina thrives on mountain slopes in acid and highly leached gravelly soils, with a low base saturation and low concentrations of organic matter. To adapt to such adverse conditions, these plants have formed mutualistic symbioses with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. In this study, the effect of indigenous AM taxa on the physiology of A. betulina is investigated. In addition, the AM taxa responsible for these physiological responses in the plant were identified using morphological and molecular techniques. Agathosma betulina was grown under glasshouse conditions in its native rhizosphere soil containing a mixed population of AM fungi. Control plants, grown in the absence of AM fungi, were included in the experimentation. In a time-course study, relative growth rate (RGR), phosphorus (P)-uptake, P utilization cost, and carbon (C)-economy of the AM symbiosis were calculated. The data showed that the initial stages of growth were characterized by a progressive increase in AM colonization. This resulted in an enhanced P-uptake in relation to non-AM plants once the symbiosis was established. Consequently, the lower P utilization cost in AM plants indicated that these plants were more efficient in acquiring P than non-AM plants. When colonization levels peaked, AM plants had consistently higher growth respiration. This indicated that the symbiosis was resulting in a C-cost to the host plant, characterized by a lower RGR in AM plants compared to non-AM plants. Arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization decreased with increasing plant age that coincided with a decline in P-uptake and growth respiration, along with increases in RGR to a level equal to non-AM plants. Consequently, the AM benefit was only observed during the initial stages of growth. In order to identify the AM fungi in planta, morphological and molecular techniques were employed, which indicated colonization by AM fungi belonging to the genera Acaulospora and Glomus. Phylogenetic analyses of a dataset containing aligned 5.8S ribosomal RNA gene sequences from all families within the Glomeromycota, including sequences obtained during the study, supported the above mentioned identification.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Fynbos bergbioom, ‘n onderafdeling van die Kaapse Floristiese Streek, huisves rondeblaar Boegoe [Agathosma betulina (Berg.) Pillans], een van Suid Afrika se bekendste bedreigde medisinale plante. Agathosma betulina is bekend vir sy gebruik as tinktuur vir die behandeling van verskeie kwale. Die plant kom voor in bergagtige streke, in suur en mineraal-arm grond, met ‘n lae organiese inhoud. Gevolglik, om aan te pas by hierdie ongunstige kondisies, vorm die plante simbiotiese assosiasies met blaasagtige, struikvormige mikorrisa (BSM). In die huidige studie is die effek van hierdie BSM op die fisiologie van A. betulina ondersoek. Die identiteit van die BSM is ook gevolglik met morfologiese en molekulêre identifikasie tegnieke bepaal. Agathosma betulina plante is onder glashuis kondisies in hul natuurlike grond gekweek, wat ‘n natuurlike populasie van BSM bevat het. Kontroles is ook in die eksperiment ingesluit en hierdie stel plante is met geen BSM geïnokuleer nie. Gevolglik is die relatiewe groeitempo, fosfor opname, fosfor verbuikerskoste asook die koolstof ekonomie van die plante bereken. Die data het getoon dat die eerste groeifase gekarakteriseer is deur toenames in BSM kolonisasie vlakke. Dit het tot ‘n hoër fosfor opname in BSM geïnokuleerde plante gelei. Die laer fosfor verbuikerskoste gedurende hierdie fase het aangedui dat die plante wat geïnokuleer is met BSM oor beter meganismes beskik het om fosfor uit die grond te bekom. Toe BSM kolonisasie vlakke gepiek het, was groei respirasie hoër in BSM geïnokuleerde plante as in die kontroles. Dit het aangedui dat die BSM kolonisasie van plante tot hoër koolstof kostes vir hierdie plante gelei het, wat weerspieël is in die laer groeitempo van die BSM geïnokuleerde plante. Die BSM kolonisasie vlakke het gedaal met toenemende ouderdom van hul gasheer plante, wat gekarakteriseer is deur ‘n laer opname van fosfor en laer groei respirasie, tesame met ‘n toename in relatiewe groeitempo tot vlakke soortgelyk aan die van die kontrole plante. Die BSM voordele vir die plant is dus net gedurende die eerste groeifase waargeneem. Die BSM wat verantwoordelik is vir hierdie fisiologiese veranderinge is gevolglik geïdentifiseer met behulp van morfologiese en molekulêre tegnieke en dit is gevind dat BSM wat behoort tot die genera Acaulospora en Glomus binne hierdie plante voorkom. Filogenetiese analise gegrond op opgelynde 5.8S ribosomale RNA geen volgordes afkomstig van al die families binne Glomeromycota asook volgordes gevind in die studie, het die bogenoemde identifikasie gestaaf.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/16600
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