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Carbon and Nitrogen Metabolism in Mycorrhizal Networks and Mycoheterotrophic Plants of Tropical Forests: A Stable Isotope Analysis1[W]

By Pierre-Emmanuel Courty, Florian Walder, Thomas Boller, Kurt Ineichen, Andres Wiemken, Alain Rousteau and Marc-André Selosse


Most achlorophyllous mycoheterotrophic (MH) plants obtain carbon (C) from mycorrhizal networks and indirectly exploit nearby autotrophic plants. We compared overlooked tropical rainforest MH plants associating with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) to well-reported temperate MH plants associating with ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetes. We investigated 13C and 15N abundances of MH plants, green plants, and AMF spores in Caribbean rainforests. Whereas temperate MH plants and fungi have higher δ13C than canopy trees, these organisms displayed similar δ13C values in rainforests, suggesting differences in C exchanges. Although temperate green and MH plants differ in δ15N, they display similar 15N abundances, and likely nitrogen (N) sources, in rainforests. Contrasting with the high N concentrations shared by temperate MH plants and their fungi, rainforest MH plants had lower N concentrations than AMF, suggesting differences in C/N of exchanged nutrients. We provide a framework for isotopic studies on AMF networks and suggest that MH plants in tropical and temperate regions evolved different physiologies to adapt in diverging environments

Topics: Plants Interacting with Other Organisms
Publisher: American Society of Plant Biologists
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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