Date of this Version
New Phytol. (1982) 91, 191-196
Root growth characteristics and water transport were compared between non-mycorrhizal Bouteloua gracilis and vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal Bouteloua gracilis infected with Glomus fasciculatus. Mycorrhizal plants did not have significantly different leaf area or root length from non-mycorrhizal plants, hut did have significantly fewer and shorter root hairs. Mycorrhizal plants had 50% lower leaf resistance with no change in leaf or root water potentials; thus transpiration was increased 100% with a 50% reduction in whole-plant, soil-to-root and root-to-leaf resistance. Assuming that the difference in water uptake was due to transport via the mycorrhizal hyphae, estimated fungus-to-root transport was 2◦8 x 10-5 mg s-1 per hyphal entry point which compares favourably with evapotranspiration rates measured in other coenocytic fungi. Thus, one of the major factors causing increased water transport and reduced resistance to water through-flow with mycorrhizal infection may he the increased surface area provided by the hyphae.