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Hansen, Philipp, 2023. Tritrophic interactions with Silphium integrifolium at the axis : elucidating the role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal species on plant phenotype. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Dept. of Plant Protection Biology



A fundamental understanding of the intricate interactions between crops and their environment
may help guide the development of ecologically intensified agriculture. Arbuscular mycorrhizal
fungi (AMF) are root symbionts that can increase a plant’s access to soil resources and have
been found to reprogram plant defensive mechanisms, potentially influencing the performance of
plant antagonists. The effect of mycorrhizal association on plant phenotype may thereby depend
on fungal genotype, as AMF strains can differ in functional traits. In the presented experiment
the impact of native prairie AMF inocula on growth and volatile organic compound (VOC)
production of two silflower (Silphium integrifolium) accessions was assessed. Plants were grown in
the greenhouse with a single species AMF inoculum, a mixture of all strains, or mock-inoculated.
To assess if any of the volatile production was mediated by different AMF inocula, plants were
stressed with the chewing herbivore Epicauta funebris or mechanically wounded prior to VOC
measurements. The presence but not the type of native mycorrhizal inoculum was found to
be crucial for plant growth as it resulted in a nearly fivefold increase in aboveground biomass
compared to mock-inoculated plants. The two silflower accessions also showed marked growth
differences in the presence of AMF, indicating that the mycorrhizal responsiveness (MR) of
silflower is dependent on plant genotype. Fungal treatment did not lead to distinct VOC profiles,
yet the measured VOCs differed among fungal strains and non-mycorrhizal silflower specimen,
the latter being found to be more prolific in VOC production per unit biomass than plants
grown with some of the AMF strains. Without a direct measure of herbivore performance or
attraction of its natural enemies, however, little can be inferred about the actual impact of the
mycorrhizal phenotype on crop-antagonist interactions. While further research is required for a
better understanding of the role of mycorrhizae in applied settings and if selection for this trait
is desirable, these findings suggest that native AMF are an important component of silflower

Main title:Tritrophic interactions with Silphium integrifolium at the axis
Subtitle:elucidating the role of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal species on plant phenotype
Authors:Hansen, Philipp
Supervisor:Dekker, Teun and Stratton, Chase and Bever, James
Examiner:Bohman, Björn
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2023
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LM005 Agroecology - Master's programme 120 HEC
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Plant Protection Biology
Keywords:Arbuscular mycorrhiza, mycorrhizal responsiveness, induced plant volatiles, Silphium integrifolium (Silflower), perennial grains, new crops, ecological intensification
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Deposited On:16 Aug 2023 08:12
Metadata Last Modified:17 Aug 2023 01:01

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