The effect of Frankia and Paxillus involutus on the performance of Alnus incana subsp rugosa in mine tailings

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Markham, JH
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi act synergistically to improve plant performance when grown on heavy metal mine tailings. Seedlings were inoculated with Frankia, Paxillus involutus (Batsch) Fr., or a combination of both and grown in 100% peat, a 1: 1 mix of peat and tailings, or 100% tailings for 20 weeks. Mortality of plants grown on pure tailings (15.0%) and peat-tailings (17.9%) was significantly greater than mortality of plants grown on peat (3.5%). The rate of nodulation and mycorrhizae formation decreased from 90.0% and 66.7%, respectively, on the peat, to 11.9% and 2.6% on the tailings. Frankia-inoculated plants grown on peat-tailings showed twice the mortality rate (38.5%) of any other inoculation treatment. Plants grown on media containing tailings had greater root/shoot ratios than plants grown on peat. Inoculating plants grown in the presence of tailings with either Frankia and (or) P. involutus increased root thickness. Inoculating plants with both symbionts increased colonization rates and shoot yield on the peat and peat-tailings media, suggesting that these symbionts act synergistically to improve plant performance. However, inoculating plants with Frankia decreased shoot relative growth rate in the early part of the experiment when plants were not fixing nitrogen, which, coupled with the higher mortality effect, suggests that nodule development is a stress for plants. It may be advisable that plants have fully functioning nodules before transplanting if they are to be used in revegetation programs.
Alnus incana subsp rugosa, Frankia, Paxillus involutus, mine tailings, mycorrhizae, METAL TOXICITY, SOIL, ECOSYSTEMS, NODULATION, GROWTH
CAN J BOT, NOV 2005, vol. 83, no. 11, p.1384 to 1390.