Alleviation of Drought Stress in White Clover after Inoculation with Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi
White clover is extremely susceptive to drought stress (DS), while it is not clear whether arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) enhance drought tolerance of the plant. This study was carried out to evaluate effects of two AMF species, Funneliformis mosseae and Paraglomus occultum, on flavonoid, soluble protein, proline, and nutrient uptake in roots of white clover under well-watered (WW) and DS conditions. Root colonization by F. mosseae and P. occultum was heavily decreased by 7-week DS treatment. Mycorrhizal plants showed considerably greater biomass production in shoot, root, and total (shoot+root) than non-mycorrhizal plants, irrespective of soil water status. AMF inoculation led to significantly higher root soluble protein and proline accumulation under WW and DS and root flavonoid level under DS, regardless of AMF species. Root N, P, K and Cu concentrations were dramatically increased by mycorrhization under WW and DS, and root Ca, Mg, Fe, and Mn levels were significantly higher in AMF plants than in non-AMF plants under WW. It concluded that AMF strongly enhanced plant growth and drought tolerance of white clover by greater nutrient absorption and protective substances (soluble protein, proline, and flavonoid) accumulation.
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