Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi increased growth, nutrient uptake and tolerance to salinity in olive trees under nursery conditions

J Plant Physiol. 2009 Sep 1;166(13):1350-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2009.02.010. Epub 2009 Apr 1.


Inoculating olive plantlets with the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) Glomus mosseae, Glomus intraradices or Glomus claroideum increased plant growth and the ability to acquire nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium from non-saline as well as saline media. AMF-colonized plants also increased in survival rate after transplant. Osmotic stress caused by NaCl supply reduced stem diameter, number of shoots, shoot length and nutrients in olive plants, but AMF colonization alleviated all of these negative effects on growth. G. mosseae was the most efficient fungus in reducing the detrimental effects of salinity; it increased shoot growth by 163% and root growth by 295% in the non-saline medium, and by 239% (shoot) and by 468% (root) under the saline conditions. AMF colonization enhanced salt tolerance in terms of olive growth and nutrient acquisition. Mycorrhizal olive plants showed the lowest biomass reduction under salinity (34%), while growth was reduced by 78% in control plants. This G. mosseae effect seems to be due to increased K acquisition; K content was enhanced under salt conditions by 6.4-fold with G. mosseae, 3.4-fold with G. intraradices, and 3.7-fold with G. claroideum. Potassium, as the most prominent inorganic solute, plays a key role in the osmoregulation processes and the highest salinity tolerance of G. mosseae-colonized olive trees was concomitant with an enhanced K concentration in olive plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Glomeromycota / growth & development
  • Glomeromycota / physiology*
  • Mycorrhizae / growth & development
  • Mycorrhizae / physiology*
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Olea / growth & development
  • Olea / metabolism
  • Olea / microbiology*
  • Olea / physiology*
  • Phosphorus / metabolism
  • Plant Shoots / growth & development
  • Plant Shoots / microbiology
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Salt Tolerance*


  • Phosphorus
  • Nitrogen
  • Potassium