Ectornycorrhizal fungi in culture respond differently to increased carbon availability

Petra M. A. Fransson, Ian C. Anderson, Ian J. Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)


Carbon (C) availability to ectomycorrhizal fungi is likely to increase at elevated atmospheric CO2. To determine whether there are any broad patterns in species' responses that relate to their ecology, we compared growth, respiration, N uptake and C exudation of 17 fungal isolates in liquid culture. As a surrogate for increased C availability we used three different ON ratios (10:1, 20:1 and 40:1), moving from conditions of C limitation to conditions of N limitation. Responses were species-specific, and suilloid fungi were the most responsive in terms of growth and respiration. In contrast, a group of eight isolates showed no growth increase above C:N 20:1. This inability to respond was not due to N limitation, although there were marked differences in N uptake between isolates. At higher C availability isolates generally became more efficient in converting C into biomass. Six isolates showed net release of exudates into the culture medium (up to 40% of the C in biomass and respiration). We conclude that the findings were in agreement with field observations, and suggest that pure culture observations can yield ecologically relevant information on how ectomycorrhizal fungi may respond under conditions of elevated CO2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-257
Number of pages12
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number2
Early online date19 Jun 2007
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2007


  • elevated CO2
  • nitrogen uptake
  • carbon partitioning
  • functional groups
  • exudation
  • boreal forest
  • elevated atmospheric CO2
  • ectomycorrhizal mycelial systems
  • Norway spruce forest
  • nitrogen deposition
  • community structure
  • soil respiration
  • mycorrhizal
  • growth
  • roots
  • trees


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