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Type: Journal article
Title: How useful is the mutualism-parasitism continuum of arbuscular mycorrhizal functioning?
Author: Smith, F.
Smith, S.
Citation: Plant and Soil, 2013; 363(1):7-18
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publ
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 0032-079X
Statement of
F. Andrew Smith & Sally E. Smith
Abstract: BACKGROUND A recent review in this journal puts forward the premise that our recent studies have resulted in our questioning the validity of the so-called mutualism-parasitism continuum of functioning of arbuscular mycorrhizas. This premise is incorrect and appears largely to result from a misunderstanding of terminology. SCOPE AND CONCLUSIONS We clarify a comment in one of our publications that influenced the previous review, which contains several statements that do not accurately represent our views. Our research has overturned not the continuum concept itself, but some past ideas about the balance of resources traded between AM fungi and plants. Of course, we recognize that outcomes of AM symbiosis in relation to the non-mycorrhizal (NM) state are strongly influenced by many environmental factors. Nevertheless, underlying resource trade is always a key determinant of costs and benefits of the symbiosis for both partners. In this context, we address uncertainties and contradictory ideas about mechanisms, causes, effects and outcomes in AM symbioses that occur in the literature, and issues of relevance of research at different scales. We also discuss semantics that can cause confusion. Finally, we assess how useful the mutualism-parasitism continuum is for design of hypothesis-driven experiments to disentangle the complex interactions that determine growth of AM plants, i.e. the so-called emergent properties.
Keywords: Arbuscular mycorrhizas; Benefits; Costs; Mycorrhizal growth response; Resource trade; Mutualism; Parasitism
Rights: © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013
RMID: 0020124876
DOI: 10.1007/s11104-012-1583-y
Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications

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