Bot Stud 2013 Dec 28;54(1):23. Epub 2013 Aug 28.
Key Laboratory of Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, 650201, China.
Background: Mycorrhizal associations play a key role in the life cycle and evolutionary history of orchids. All orchids grow from extremely small seeds that are lacking in reserves, and germination and growth into an underground heterotrophic, achlorophyllous stage depend upon symbiotic fungi to provide nutrient. However, the nutritional physiology between this symbiosis and green-leaved orchids is still unclear. To understand further how these associations affect growth and carbon utilization of green orchids, the green orchids were inoculated with two symbiotic fungi isolated from the roots of a wild orchid (Dendrobium officinale) in vitro and C stable isotope signature experiments were designed to analyze carbon nutrition acquisition.
Results: After two months, both fungi had formed mycorrhizal associations with the host roots. Moreover, the growth rate was more rapid for the mycorrhizal seedlings than for the non-mycorrhizal seedlings. The mycorrhizal seedlings not only absorbed more C from the substrate, but also the S3-mycorrhizal seedlings assimilated more atmospheric CO due to significantly higher effective quantum yield of photosystem II, compared with the non-mycorrhizal seedlings. These results suggested that the green orchids could receive more C nutrition from the substrate due to symbiotic fungi, and photosynthesis capacity of the green D. officinale could be enhanced by the S3 fungus, therefore carbon nutrition acquisition also increased. As a result, the S1- and S3- mycorrhizal seedlings showed markedly higher biomass and polysaccharides contents than the non-mycorrhizal seedlings.
Conclusions: These results improve our understanding of the mycorrhizal functioning in the green Dendrobium and show some potential application in the cultivation of D. officinale.