Effects of metal lead on growth and mycorrhizae of an invasive plant species (Solidago canadensis L.).
It is less known whether and how soil metal lead (Pb) impacts the invasion of exotic plants. A greenhouse experiment was conducted to estimate the effects of lead on the growth and mycorrhizae of an invasive species (Solidago canadensis L.) in a microcosm system. Each microcosm unit was separated into HOST and TEST compartments by a replaceable mesh screen that allowed arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal hyphae rather than plant roots to grow into the TEST compartments. Three Pb levels (control, 300, and 600 mg/kg soil) were used in this study to simulate ambient soil and two pollution sites where S. canadensis grows. Mycorrhizal inoculum comprised five indigenous arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal species (Glomus mosseae, Glomus versiform, Glomus diaphanum, Glomus geosporum, and Glomus etunicatum). The 15N isotope tracer was used to quantify the mycorrhizally mediated nitrogen acquisition of plants. The results showed that S. canadensis was highly dependent on mycorrhizae. The Pb additions significantly decreased biomass and arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization (root length colonized, RLC%) but did not affect spore numbers, N (including total N and 15N) and P uptake. The facilitating efficiency of mycorrhizae on nutrient acquisition was promoted by Pb treatments. The Pb was mostly sequestered in belowground of plant (root and rhizome). The results suggest that the high efficiency of mycorrhizae on nutrient uptake might give S. canadensis a great advantage over native species in Pb polluted soils.