Arbuscular mycorrhiza alters metal uptake and the physiological response of Coffea arabica seedlings to increasing Zn and Cu concentrations in soil.Sci Total Environ. 2010 Oct 15; 408(22):5381-91.ST
Studies on mycorrhizal symbiosis effects on metal accumulation and plant tolerance are not common in perennial crops under metal stress. The objective of this study was to evaluate the influence of mycorrhization on coffee seedlings under Cu and Zn stress. Copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) uptake and some biochemical and physiological traits were studied in thirty-week old Coffea arabica seedlings, in response to the inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and to increasing concentrations of Cu or Zn in soil. The experiments were conducted under greenhouse conditions in a 2×4 factorial design (inoculation or not with AMF and 0, 50, 150 and 450mgkg(-1) Cu or 0, 100, 300 and 900mgkg(-1) Zn). Non-mycorrhizal plants maintained a hampered and slow growth even in a soil with appropriate phosphorus (P) levels for this crop. As metal levels increased in soil, a greater proportion of the total absorbed metals were retained by roots. Foliar Cu concentrations increased only in non-mycorrhizal plants, reaching a maximum concentration of 30mgkg(-1) at the highest Cu in soil. Mycorrhization prevented the accumulation of Cu in leaves, and mycorrhizal plants showed higher Cu contents in stems, which indicated a differential Cu distribution in AMF-associated or non-associated plants. Zn distribution and concentrations in different plant organs followed a similar pattern independently of mycorrhization. In mycorrhizal plants, only the highest metal concentrations caused a reduction in biomass, leading to significant changes in some biochemical indicators, such as malondialdehyde, proline and amino acid contents in leaves and also in foliar free amino acid composition. Marked differences in these physiological traits were also found due to mycorrhization. In conclusion, AMF protected coffee seedlings against metal toxicity.