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Journal of Arid Land  2015, Vol. 7 Issue (3): 414-420    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-014-0046-0
Research Articles     
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi improved plant growth and nutrient acquisition of desert ephemeral Plantago minuta under variable soil water conditions
ZhaoYong SHI1,2,3, Bede MICKAN3, Gu FENG2, YingLong CHEN3,4
1 College of Agriculture, Henan University of Science and Technology, Luoyang 471003, China;
2 College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100094, China;
3 School of Earth and Environment, the University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia;
4 State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling 712100, China
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Abstract  Desert ephemeral plants play an important role in desert ecosystem. Soil water availability is considered as the major restrictive factor limiting the growth of ephemeral plants. Moreover, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM fungi) are widely reported to improve the growth of desert ephemerals. The present study aimed to test the hypothesis of that AM fungi could alleviate drought stress of desert ephemeral Plantago minuta, and AM fungal functions reduced with the improvement of soil water content. A pot ex-periment was carried out with three levels of soil water contents (4.5%, 9.0%, and 15.8% (w/w), and three AM inoculation treatments (Glomus mosseae, Glomus etunicatum and non-inoculation). The results indicate that mycorrhizal colonization rate decreased with the increase of soil water availability. Inoculation improved plant growth and N, P and K acquisition in both shoots and roots regardless water treatments. When comparing the two fungi, plants inoculated with G. mosseae performed better than those inoculated with G. etunicatum in terms of plant growth and nutrient acquisition. These results showed that ameliorative soil water did not suppress arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal functions in improving growth and nutrient acquisition of desert ephemeral Plantago minuta.

Key wordsgroundwater flow      groundwater age      numerical modeling      water resource sustainability     
Received: 17 July 2014      Published: 05 February 2015

This work was funded by the Foundation for University Key Teacher by Henan Educational Committee (2013GGJS-070), the State Basic Research Program of China (2014CB954202), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (40971150) and the China Scholarship Council (201208410020).

Corresponding Authors: ZhaoYong SHI     E-mail:
Cite this article:

ZhaoYong SHI, Bede MICKAN, Gu FENG, YingLong CHEN. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi improved plant growth and nutrient acquisition of desert ephemeral Plantago minuta under variable soil water conditions. Journal of Arid Land, 2015, 7(3): 414-420.

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