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«Effetcs of root zone composition and nitrogen and phosphorus rates on mycorrhizal colonization in different turfgrass species on sand-based golf ...»

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Effetcs of root zone composition and nitrogen and

phosphorus rates on mycorrhizal colonization in

different turfgrass species on sand-based golf

greens in Scandinavia

Effekter av rotsonens sammensetning og nitrogen og fosfor nivåer på

mykorrhiza kolonisering i ulike arter av sportsgress på sandbaserte golf

greener i Skandinavia

Tina Elida Andersen

Master Thesis 60 credits 2013

Department of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science


This thesis is a result of my five years of biology studies here at the Norwegian University of Life sciences (UMB), and also marsk the end of a two-year master's program in microbiology. It was created thanks to some dedicated and benevolent researchers at the Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research (Bioforsk), who met me with open arms and immediately responded positively to my request of collaboration on an external master thesis involving environmental microbiology. The topic is of interest to me because of my passion for nature and its impressive mechanisms in general, and I also wanted to write a thesis from my home town that later could give me the opportunity to work on related topics in the same region.

The work with the thesis was carried out in the period from winter/spring of 2012 to the spring of 2013, at the Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research (Bioforsk). The thesis was written for the Department of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food Science (IKBM) at the Norwegian University of Life sciences (UMB). My official supervisor at UMB was Arne Tronsmo, and my practical advisors from Bioforsk were Trygve S. Aamlid, Tatsiana Espevig and Erik J. Joner.

The task of writing this thesis has been a great challenge, especially since I have never before written such an extensive paper. There have been times where I have felt tired and frustrated, but I have also felt encouraged that I am part of an important process to provide useful knowledge for future use of land in cultivation. During my work with the thesis I have learned a lot about turfgrass management as well as the mycorrhizal associations in these grasses. I have also gained insight in how research takes place, from planning and performing an experiment, to presenting and interpreting results. The importance of reading updated literature, discussing results with others and being open about own research so that others can make use of the information in their studies, has become very clear.

First of all, I would like to thank Erling Stubhaug, Trygve S. Aamlid, Tatsiana Espevig and Erik J.

Joner for believing in me and my work already from our first meeting, and for being so open to new activity in their research institutions. I would also like to thank Aamlid, Espevig, Joner and Agnar Kvalbein for valuable discussions and comments on the topic ‘mycorrhizal colonization in turfgrass’.

A special thank you goes to Aamlid and Espevig for helping me with statistical data analyzes, for giving good and constructive reviews of the thesis, and for always finding the time to answering my questions and sharing their great knowledge and experiences within the turfgrass science. You have taught me to trust my own data, and to not give up on finding logical explanations to why results are as they are. I would also like to thank Joner for rewieving the thesis, for answering my questions about mycorrhizal associations, teaching me the methodology of the mycorrhiza assays, and for guiding me II through the greenhouse experiment. An additional person who deserves a special thank you is Theo Ruissen, for help with identifying mycorrhizal diversity, photography through the microscope and for providing significant amounts of relevant litterature and information on mycorrhiza in general.

Many pepole have been involved in this master project, and the thesis would not have been possible to complete if it was not for their help and support. I would especially like to thank Arne Tronsmo, for formal support and reviewing of the thesis, Jørn Medlien, for making the pot experiment feasible through technical assistance in the greenhouse, Pierre Adrien Rivier, for help with the maintenance of the greenhouse experiment and for assistance with the mycorrhiza analyzes, Maria Herrero, for identification of pathogic fungi in the greenhouse experiment, Hege Bergheim, for assistance in the lab, Trond Olav Pettersen, for assistance during sample harvesting and technical support with the field studies, Lars T. Havstad, for technical IT-support, and Torfinn Torp, for help with statistical issues.

Last but not least, I would like to thank the rest of my ‘colleagues’ at Bioforsk, Landvik for their encouragement and contributions to a good and healthy social environment, and for making my semester here so pleasant. Thanks to my dear parents for always supporting and believing in me, and to my boyfriend for bearing over with my varying mood and lack of prescence during the most stressfull periods. I would also like to thank my fellow students at UMB for the many hours of collaboration, discussions and social gatherings that have made my time as a student an unforgettable experience.

Ås - UMB 10.05.2013

-----------------------------------Tina E. Andersen

–  –  –

Mycorrhiza is an ancient and widespread form of symbiosis that takes place when specialized, soilliving fungi colonize plant roots, where they exchange nutrients like nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) in return of carbon sugars. Besides enhanced nutrient uptake, mycorrhizal relationships often provide additional benefits like increased resistance to drought, chilling, salinity and pathogens, to the host. In this context, the golf industry, which is challenged by the need to restrict inputs of fertilizers, pesticides and energy for irrigation and mechanical maintenance, is interested in utilizing these symbiotic associations to improve green quality in a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective way. Little is known about mycorrhizal colonization in turfgrasses, but since greens are believed to be generally poor in mycorrhizal forming fungi compared to natural soil habitats, there is focus on applying commercial inocula to ‘boost’ the extent of colonization in these plants. The ultimate goal is that inoculation will improve green quality through early establishment, enhanced growth and stress tolerance. In addition, the potential in controlling the invasive annual bluegrass (Poa annua) by means of mycorrhizal inoculation is under investigation, because this species have been found to benefit less from these symbiotic interactions than other, frequently used turfgrasses on golf greens.

The objective of this thesis was to investigate how green management practices affect mycorrhizal colonization in different turfgrass species. More specifically; I studied how N/P rates, type of growth medium and inoculation with a mycorrhiza product affected arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization in different turfgrass species on sand based golf greens, as well as how the symbiosis affected green quality in interaction with these management practices.

The research was conducted on two already established greens at Bioforsk Landvik, Grimstad, that were testing effects of different green management on turf quality, playability and competition against annual bluegrass on Scandinavian golf greens. Root samples were harvested from both fields, and analyzed for percent mycorrhizal colonization before a suggestion of possible fungal genera were made based on observed mycorrhizal structures. Root weights were also recorded. In addition, data analyses and visual data that had been recorded on turf quality through the whole growth season in conjunction with the main projects were obtained for both fields. An initial greenhouse experiment was performed at the Center for Climate Controlled Plant Research at Ås, Akershus, where the same growth media, mycorrhizal inoculum and turfgrass species as in the field trials were tested over a thirteen week period. Collection of clippings and visual data recordings were performed at regular intervals. By the end of the experiment, the roots from each pot were harvested and analyzed in the same manner as with the samples from the field studies. Total above-ground material was also collected from each pot and weighed.

IV Turf quality increased with increasing N availability. At the higher N-levels, the incidence of disease and annual bluegrass competition was limited, while the general impression was better. This was also true for root zones amended with compost instead of peat, the former releasing nutrients more easily.

However, in the greenhouse study, plants grown with peat as organic amendment had the best growth, due to excessive N-fertilizing in these pots that was overshadowing the effect of compost amendment.

There were no significant effects of phosphorus on either turf quality or mycorrhial colonization.

Mycorrhizal colonization was high in all turfgrass species, except for the greenhouse experiment, where the inoculum tested showed no significant effects. The bentgrasses seemed to be the most mycorrhizal species, but the difference in colonization between red fescue and annual bluegrass was somewhat unclear. Moreover, these results were not significant. There were no significant effects of N/P rates on mycorrhizal colonization either, but a tendency pointed towards increasing colonization with decreasing N amounts. Furthermore, colonization rates increased when compost was incorporated into the root zone instead of peat. There were no significant effects of inoculation in the field studies, although a small tendency pointed towards a reduction in annual bluegrass, as well as increased P removal from the soil, in inoculated plots.

The results showed several interactions between species and N-level, and between species and growth medium. This underlines that processes related to plant growth and quality as well as symbiosis development is largely controlled by N availability, but also that growth responses to this element are related to individual species growth potentials. Mycorrhizal growth responses was probably neutral or could not be detected in the different species because the high nutrient availability in the greens was overshadowing any mycorrhizal effect, and this further indicates that direct uptake of available N is the primary cause of increased plant fitness in greens. The lack of significances when testing the mycorrhiza inoculum illustrates that successful incorporation of such commercial products into the field may be a challenge. However, use of compost in the root zone of the youngest green seemed to increase the colonization rates, and if simple measures like this can accelerate the establishment of nautral, mycorrhizal fungal populations in the future, inoculating greens during construction may not be necessary.

V Sammendrag Mykorrhiza er en gammel og utbredt form for symbiose som skjer ved at spesialiserte, jordlevende sopper koloniserer planterøtter, hvor de utveksler næringsstoffer som nitrogen (N) og fosfor (P) til gjengjeld for karbohydrater. Foruten økt næringsopptak tilbyr mykorriza ofte flere fordeler for verten, slik som bedre toleranse for tørke, kulde, saltholdighet og patogener. Golfindustrien utfordres av behovet for å begrense mengder av gjødsel, sprøytemidler og energi brukt til vanning og mekanisk vedlikehold, og er i denne sammenheng interessert i å utnytte disse symbiotiske interaksjonene til å vedlikeholde greener på en mer miljøvennlig og kostnadseffektiv måte. Lite er visst om mykorrhiza kolonisering i sportsgress, men siden greener antas å inneha generelt lite mykorrhizasopper i forhold til naturlige jord habitater, fokuseres det på bruk av kommersielle inokulater for å øke omfanget av kolonisering i disse plantene. Det endelige målet er at inokuleringen skal forbedre greenkvaliteten gjennom tidlig etablering, forbedret vekst og stresstoleranse. I tillegg blir det forsket rundt potensialet i å kontrollere tunrapp (Poa annua) ved hjelp av mykorrhiza inokulering, fordi denne arten har vist seg å ha mindre nytte av symbiosen enn andre gressarter som er ønskelige i golfgreener.

Formålet med denne avhandlingen var å undersøke hvordan skjøtsel av greener påvirker mykorrhiza kolonisering i ulike arter av sportsgress. Mer spesifikt studerte jeg hvordan N/P nivåer, type vekst medium og inokulering med et mykorrhiza produkt påvirket arbuskulær mykorrhiza kolonisering i ulike sportsgressarter på sandbaserte golfgreener, samt hvordan symbiosen påvirket greenkvalitet i samspill med disse skjøtselsfaktorene.

Forskningen ble gjennomført på to allerede etablerte greener hos Bioforsk Landvik, Grimstad, som tester effekter av ulike skjøtselsregimer på gressets kvalitet, spillbarhet og konkurranseevne mot tunrapp i typiske Skandinaviske golfgreener. Rotprøver ble høstet fra begge feltene, og analysert for prosent mykorrhiza kolonisering før en antydning av mulige soppslekter ble gjort, basert på observerte mykorrhiza strukturer. Rotvekter ble også registrert. I tillegg ble dataanalyser og visuelle data som hadde blitt registrert på gressets kvalitet gjennom hele vekstsesongen i forbindelse med de to hovedprosjektene skaffet for begge feltene. Et innledende drivhusforsøk ble utført ved Senter for Klimaregulert Planteforskning i Ås, Akershus, hvor de samme vekstmediene, mykorrhiza inokulumet og gressartene som i feltforsøket ble testet over en tretten-ukers periode. Samling av avklipp og visuelle dataregistreringer ble utført med jevne mellomrom. Ved slutten av eksperimentet ble røttene fra hver potte høstet og analysert på samme måte som med prøvene fra feltforsøkene. Alt overjordisk materiale ble også samlet fra hver potte, og veid.

Gresskvaliteten økte med økende N tilgjengelighet. Ved de høyere N-nivåene ble forekomsten av sykdom og konkurranse fra tunrapp begrenset, mens det generelle inntrykket av gresset var bedre.

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