Influences of anthropogenic pollution on mycorrhizal fungal communities

J W G Cairney, A A Meharg

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


Mycorrhizal fungi form complex communities in the root systems of most plant species and are thought to be important in terrestrial ecosystem sustainability. We have reviewed the literature relating to the influence of the major forms of anthropogenic pollution on the structure and dynamics of mycorrhizal fungal communities. All forms of pollution have been reported to alter the structure of below-ground communities of mycorrhizal fungi to some degree, although the extent to which such changes will be sustained in the longer term is at present not clear. The major limitation to predicting the consequences of pollution-mediated changes in mycorrhizal fungal communities to terrestrial habitats is our limited understanding of the functional significance of mycorrhizal fungal diversity. While this is identified as a priority area for future research, it is suggested that, in the absence of such data, an understanding of pollution-mediated changes in mycorrhizal mycelial systems in soil may provide useful indicators for sustainability of mycorrhizal systems. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-182
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Issue number2
Early online date17 Jun 1999
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1999


  • nitrogen and sulphur deposition
  • acid deposition
  • toxic metals
  • organic pollutants
  • ozone
  • elevated CO2
  • elevated atmospheric CO2
  • simulated acid-rain
  • vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizae
  • loblolly-pine seedlings
  • abies L Karst
  • landfill site restoration
  • red spruce seedlings
  • taeda L seedlings
  • scots pine
  • Norway spruce


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