Disentangling the role of ectomycorrhizal fungi in plant nutrient acquisition along a Zn gradient using X-ray imaging

Kaile Zhang, Ryan Tappero, Joske Ruytinx, Sara Branco, Hui-Ling Liao

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Zinc (Zn) is a plant essential micronutrient involved in a wide range of cellular processes. Ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF) are known to play a critical role in regulating plant Zn status. However, how EMF control uptake and translocation of Zn and other nutrients in plant roots under different Zn conditions is not well known. Using X-ray fluorescence imaging, we found the EMF species Suillus luteus increased pine root Zn acquisition under low Zn concentrations and reduced its accumulation under higher Zn levels. By contrast, non-mycorrhizal pine roots exposed to high Zn indiscriminately take up and translocate Zn to root tissues, leading to Zn stress. Regardless of S. luteus inoculation, the absorption pattern of Ca and Cu was similar to Zn. Compared to Ca and Cu, effects of S. luteus on Fe acquisition were more marked, leading to a negative association between Zn addition and Fe concentration within EMF roots. Besides, higher nutrient accumulation in the fungal sheath, compared to hyphae inhabiting between intercellular space of cortex cells, implies the fungal sheath serves as a barrier to regulate nutrient transportation into fungal Hartig net. Our results demonstrate the crucial roles EMF play in plant nutrient uptake and how fungal partners ameliorate soil chemical conditions either by increasing or decreasing element uptake.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149481
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date8 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2021

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