Co-evolution of mycorrhizal symbionts and their hosts to metal-contaminated environments

A A Meharg, J W G Cairney

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature review

203 Citations (Scopus)


Publisher Summary
This chapter has attempted to synthesize the available literature on mycorrhizal fungi-host plant adaptation to metal-contaminated soils in order to draw conclusions on the co-evolutionary strategies for the establishment of mycorrhizal associations on contaminated sites. Arbuscular mycorrhizas are discuused in detail, wherein, arbuscular mycorrhiza and metal-contaminated sites, species diversity, spore germination, germ tube growth, hyphal penetration, root colonization, spore production, metal assimilation in plant tissues, plant sensitivity, and nutritional aspects have been described and whether or not plants benefit from being colonized with resistant arbuscular mycorrhizal strains. Ericoid mycorrhizas are discussed and in that topic, the Ericaceae and metal-contaminated environments, copper, zinc, and the role of mycorrhizas in metal resistance of the Ericaceae are explored. Furthermore, the chapter turns to the discussion of ectomycorrhizal fungi, starting with its introduction goes on to discuss about general response of ectomycorrhizal associations to raised levels of metals, genetic adaptation of trees to metal contaminants, intraspecific variation in metal resistance in ectomycorrhizal fungi, studies conducted with hosts colonized with resistant and sensitive strains, and role of ectomycorrhizal fungi in facilitating host metal resistance. Finally the chapter closes with conclusions regarding current state of knowledge and future research requirements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-112
Number of pages44
JournalAdvances in Ecological Research
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • ectomycorrhizal pinus-sylvestris
  • vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizas
  • potentially toxic metals
  • vulgaris L hull
  • zinc tolerance
  • heavy-metals
  • calluna-vulgaris
  • pisolithus-tinctorius
  • vaccinium macrocarpon
  • fertilizer amendments

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