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Oecologia

Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal species suppress inducible plant responses and alter defensive strategies following herbivory.


PMID 19408016

Abstract

In a greenhouse experiment using Plantago lanceolata, plants grown with different arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal species differed in constitutive levels of chemical defense depending on the species of AM fungi with which they were associated. AM fungal inoculation also modified the induced chemical response following herbivory by the specialist lepidopoteran herbivore Junonia coenia, and fungal species varied in how they affected induced responses. On average, inoculation with AM fungi substantially reduced the induced chemical response as compared with sterile controls, and inoculation with a mixture of AM fungi suppressed the induced response of P. lanceolata to herbivory. These results suggest that AM fungi can exert controlling influence over plant defensive phenotypes, and a portion of the substantial variation among experimental tests of induced chemical responses may be attributable to AM fungi.