Using mycorrhiza-defective mutant genotypes of non-legume plant species to study the formation and functioning of arbuscular mycorrhiza: a review

Stephanie Watts-Williams, Timothy Cavagnaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


A significant challenge facing the study of arbuscular mycorrhiza is the establishment of suitable non-mycorrhizal treatments that can be compared with mycorrhizal treatments. A number of options are available, including soil disinfection or sterilisation, comparison of constitutively mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal plant species, comparison of plants grown in soils with different inoculum potential and the comparison of mycorrhiza-defective mutant genotypes with their mycorrhizal wild-type progenitors. Each option has its inherent advantages and limitations. Here, the potential to use mycorrhiza-defective mutant and wild-type genotype plant pairs as tools to study the functioning of mycorrhiza is reviewed. The emphasis of this review is placed on non-legume plant species, as mycorrhiza-defective plant genotypes in legumes have recently been extensively reviewed. It is concluded that non-legume mycorrhiza-defective mutant and wild-type pairs are useful tools in the study of mycorrhiza. However, the mutant genotypes should be well characterised and, ideally, meet a number of key criteria. The generation of more mycorrhiza-defective mutant genotypes in agronomically important plant species would be of benefit, as would be more research using these genotype pairs, especially under field conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)587-597
Number of pages11
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Arbuscular mycorrhiza
  • Micro-Tom
  • Mycorrhiza-defective mutant genotype
  • Reduced mycorrhizal colonisation (rmc)
  • Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)

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