Taking mycocentrism seriously: mycorrhizal fungal and plant responses to elevated CO2

Alberton, O.; Kuyper, T.W.; Gorissen, A.


The aim here was to separately assess mycorrhizal fungal and plant responses under elevated atmospheric CO2, and to test a mycocentric model that assumes that increased carbon availability to the fungus will not automatically feed back to enhanced plant growth performance. Meta-analyses were applied across independent studies. Responses were compared in ectomycorrhizal (ECM) and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, and ECM and AM plants. Responses of both mycorrhizal fungi and mycorrhizal plants to elevated CO2 were significantly positive. The response ratio for ECM fungi was 1.34 (an increase of 34%) and for AM fungi 1.21 (21%), indicating a significantly different response. The response ratio for ECM plants was 1.26, similar to that of AM plants (1.25). Fractional colonization proved to be an unsuitable fungal parameter. Evidence was found for the mycocentric view in ECM, but not in AM systems. Fungal identity and plant identity were important parameters that affected response ratios. The need for better descriptors of fungal and plant responses is emphasized