Megan M. Van Hecke

Creighton University, Omaha, NE, United States

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Publications (1)3.24 Total impact

  • Megan M. Van Hecke, Amy M. Treonis, Jessica R. Kaufman
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    ABSTRACT: The goal of our study was to investigate the impact of fungal endophytes in tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) on rhizodeposition and in turn, the soil microbial community. Sand-based, aseptic microlysimeter units were constructed for the collection of rhizodeposit solutions for chemical analyses from the roots of endophyte-free (E−) and endophyte-infected (E+) tall fescue plants. E+ plants were infected with Neotyphodium coenophialum, the most common endophyte found in tall fescue. Rhizodeposit solutions collected over nine weeks from E+ grass contained more organic carbon and carbohydrates than E−. These solutions were allowed to percolate through columns of plant-free soils to assess the response of the soil microbial communities. Soils to which solutions from E+ grass were applied had significantly higher respiration rates than those receiving solutions from E− grass, suggesting that microbial activity was stimulated by changes in the rhizodeposits. Culture-based assays of the soil microbial community (plate counts and community-level physiological profiling) suggest that the basic structure of the microbial community was not affected by application of rhizodeposit solutions from E+ plants as compared to E−. Our results indicate that the presence of a fungal endophyte may enhance rhizodeposition by tall fescue and could consequently influence microbial mineralization processes in the soil. In grasslands where nutrients may be limiting, hosting a fungal endophyte has the potential to enhance plant nutrient supply indirectly via a stimulatory effect on the soil microbial biomass.
    Plant and Soil 01/2005; 275(1):101-109. · 3.24 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

10 Citations
3.24 Total Impact Points

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Institutions

  • 2005
    • Creighton University
      • Department of Biology
      Omaha, NE, United States