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Ectomycorrhizal fungi and apatite weathering

Ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungi are important for the nutrient uptake of forest trees. Apart from releasing nutrients from organic material they can also enhance weathering of certain minerals. One central theme in this project is to determine the potential of EM fungi to take up nutrients (P, K, Mg) from primary minerals such as apatite, biotite and hornblende, and how this is influenced by the nutrient status of the forest. The influence of mineral amendment on the composition of the EM community is studied in fungal ingrowth mesh bags that are incubated in the forest floor.

To study interactions between the fungi and the minerals various techniques are applied such as: SEM, AFM (which are different microscopic techniques) and elemental analysis of fungal material that has been in contact with minerals (PIXE). Some of these studies are done under laboratory conditions and some in areas with specific bedrocks such as granite, serpentinite and amphobolite in the Czech Republic. The composition of EM communities is analysed using 454 pyrosequencing.

Apatite with hyphae
Ectomycorrhizal hyphae colonizing flakes of biotite mineral.

Recent publications

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Collaborators

  • Pavel Kram, Czech Geological Survey, Prague, Czech Republic
  • Zsuzsanna Balogh-Brunstad, Nanocenter, Copenhagen University, Denmark
  • Marks Smits, Centre for Environmental Sciences, Hasselt University, Belgium
  • Per Persson, Department of Chemistry, Umeå University, Sweden