Long-lived radionuclides such as (90)Sr and (137)Cs can be naturally or accidentally deposited in the upper soil layers where they emit β/γ radiation. Previous studies have shown that arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) can accumulate and transfer radionuclides from soil to plant, but there have been no studies on the direct impact of ionizing radiation on AMF. In this study, root organ cultures of the AMF Rhizophagus irregularis MUCL 41833 were exposed to 15.37, 30.35, and 113.03 Gy gamma radiation from a (137)Cs source. Exposed spores were subsequently inoculated to Plantago lanceolata seedlings in pots, and root colonization and P uptake evaluated. P. lanceolata seedlings inoculated with non-irradiated AMF spores or with spores irradiated with up to 30.35 Gy gamma radiation had similar levels of root colonization. Spores irradiated with 113.03 Gy gamma radiation failed to colonize P. lanceolata roots. P content of plants inoculated with non-irradiated spores or of plants inoculated with spores irradiated with up to 30.35 Gy gamma radiation was higher than in non-mycorrhizal plants or plants inoculated with spores irradiated with 113.03 Gy gamma radiation. These results demonstrate that spores of R. irregularis MUCL 41833 are tolerant to chronic ionizing radiation at high doses.
Keywords: Gamma radiation; Plant P uptake; Plantago lanceolata; Rhizophagus irregularis; Root colonization; Spores.