Physiological responses of mycorrhizal symbiosis to drought stress in white clover
The aim of the present study was to analyze the effects of two arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), Funneliformis mosseae and Paraglomus occultum, on leaf water status, root morphology, root sugar accumulation, root abscisic acid (ABA) levels, root malondialdehyde (MDA) content, and root antioxidant enzyme activities in white clover (Trifolium repens L.) exposed to well-watered (WW) and drought stress (DS) conditions. The results showed that root colonization by F. mosseae and P. occultum was significantly decreased by 7-week soil drought treatment. Under drought stress conditions, mycorrhizal fungal treatment considerably stimulated root total length, surface area and volume, as compared with non-mycorrhizal controls. In addition, inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi also increased leaf relative water content and accelerated the accumulation of root glucose and fructose under drought stress. Mycorrhizal plants under drought stress registered higher activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and peroxidase (POD) and ABA levels in roots, while lower MDA contents, relative to non-mycorrhizal plants. As a result, mycorrhiza-inoculated plants represented better physiological activities (e.g. antioxidant defense systems, root morphology, and sugar accumulation) than non-inoculated plants in response to soil drought, whilst P. occultum had superior effects than F. mosseae.
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