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Title: Population biology and interactions of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and their benefits in strawberry cultivation
Author: Robinson Boyer, Louisa
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 2858
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2014
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The diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and relative abundance among species may affect their ecological impact. Species-specific primers for qPCR quantification of Funneliformis geosporus and F.mosseae DNA were developed to quantify their relative abundance for use in studying mixed inocula in roots of strawberry under different conditions of water stress. Co-occupation of the same root by both species was shown to commonly occur but the relative abundance of the two species varied with water stress. Greater root colonisation was observed microscopically under water stress but this increased colonisation was often accompanied with decreased amounts of fungal DNA in the root. Funneliformis mosseae tended to become more abundant under water stress relative to F. geosporus. There was significant correlation in the fungal colonisation measurements from the microscopic and qPCR methods under some conditions, but the nature of this relationship varied greatly with AMF inoculum and abiotic conditions. Water stress experiments, undertaken with strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa) show a reduction of plant development when subjected to regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) conditions. The effect on growth of AMF colonisation and relative abundance of two co-occurring species of AMF, F. geosporus and F. mosseae, were determined in cultivated strawberry under conditions of water stress. Three AMF inoculation treatments (a single treatment either of F. mosseae BEG25, F. geosporus BEG11 or a 50:50 mixed inoculation treatment of both species) were compared to un-inoculated plants. This study demonstrated that in strawberry plants, under these experimental conditions, single species inoculation treatments gave similar benefits to the host as the mixed inoculation treatment regardless of irrigation regime, suggesting colonisation was of greater importance than mycorrhizal fungal species. The addition of AMF inocula to plants, subjected to reduced irrigation of up to 40%, restored plant growth to the same or higher values as the non-mycorrhizal, fully-watered plants. The water use efficiency of plants was greater under the RDI regime and in AMF-inoculated plants, but there were no significant differences between plants inoculated with the single or combined inoculum. The occurrence of multiple variant sequences within the rRNA genes of the AMF is now widely accepted; however the mechanisms for this are not currently clear. This work investigated the effect of different culture conditions (in vitro and in planta culture) on sequence diversity and relative abundance of a culture of Rhizophagus clarus. Next generation sequencing, using the Illumina platform, generated three major sequence variants that were the most common sequence variants in all conditions. All other sequences grouped phylogenetically about these three major sequence types along with an outgroup of less common sequence types. This study demonstrated that changes in the frequency of dominant sequence variants had occurred when AMF are maintained for two years under different culture conditions.
Supervisor: Jeffries, Peter; Xu, Xiangming Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QH301 Biology