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Tracking carbon from the atmosphere to the rhizosphere

  • Pål Axel Olsson
  • Nancy Johnson
Publishing year: 2005
Language: English
Pages: 1264-1270
Publication/Series: Ecology Letters
Volume: 8
Issue: 12
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

Turnover rates of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi may influence storage of soil organic carbon (SOC). We examined the longevity of AM hyphae in monoxenic cultures; and we also used C-13 incorporation into signature fatty acids to study C dynamics in a mycorrhizal symbiosis involving Glomus intraradices and Plantago lanceolata. C-13 enrichment of signature fatty acids showed rapid transfer of plant assimilates to AM fungi and a gradual release of C from roots to rhizosphere bacteria, but at a much slower rate. Furthermore, most C assimilated by AM fungi remained 32 days after labelling. These findings indicate that C-13 labelled fatty acids can be used to track C flux from the atmosphere to the rhizosphere and that retention of C in AM fungal mycelium may contribute significantly to SOC.


  • Ecology
  • Plantago lanceolata
  • intraradices
  • Glomus
  • carbon cycling
  • C-13
  • arbuscular mycorrhiza
  • bacteria
  • signature fatty acids
  • stable isotope


  • Microbial Ecology
  • ISSN: 1461-023X
Pål Axel Olsson
E-mail: pal_axel [dot] olsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 42 47



Research group

Plant Biology



Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor

Theodor Kindeberg

PhD students, assistant supervisor