Growth of arbuscular mycorrhizal mycelium in calcareous dune sand and its interaction with other soil microorganisms as estimated by measurement of specific fatty acids

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Fatty acid analysis was used for determining the extent of the development of the external mycelium of AM fungi (mixed inoculum from a sand dune) growing from roots of Festuca rubra and Plantago lanceolata in calcareous dune sand. The plants were raised in chambers specially designed to permit the growth of AM mycelium in root-free compartments. In two separate experiments, growth of external mycelium in the root-free compartments was detected and the amount of mycelium was estimated using the indicator of AM fungal biomass, phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) 16:1 omega 5. The results showed that the PLFA 16:1 omega 5 was suitable for estimating the mycelium emerging from the mixed inoculum obtained from the field roots of F: rubra and P lanceolata. The PLFA 16:1 omega 5 showed external mycelium to become established in the root-free compartments within a period of 3 weeks and the amount of mycelium to continue to increase at 6 and 9 weeks. Increases in neutral lipid fatty acid (NLFA) 16:1 omega 5 (indicator of storage lipids) over time were inconsistent between the two experiments, but appeared to follow patterns of sporulation in each experiment. In both experiments, the root-free compartment was colonised by saprophytic fungi to a greater extent in the case of non-mycorrhizal than of AM treatment, as indicated by an increase in PLFA 18:2 omega 6,9 (indicator of saprophytic fungi). The absence of an increase in the case of AM treatment indicates that AM fungal mycelium can negatively affect the growth of saprophytic fungi in this soil type. This result was, however, only weakly supported by measurements of ergosterol content. The analysis of bacteria specific PLFAs showed that bacterial biomass was not affected by the AM mycelium.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences


  • phospholipids, Glomus fasciculatum, Festuca rubra, neutral lipids, Plantago lanceolata, external mycelium
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-16
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998
Publication categoryResearch