The effects of mycorrhizal infection and soil P availability on in vitro and in vivo pollen performance were studied in two cultivars of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum). In the first study, plants were grown in a greenhouse under three treatment combinations: nonmycorrhizal, low P (NMPO); nonmycorrhizal, high P (NMP3); and mycorrhizal, low P (MPO). Mycorrhizal infection and high soil P conditions significantly increased in vitro pollen tube growth rates but not percentage of germination. In addition, pollen from NMP3 and MPO plants sired significantly more seeds than pollen from NMPO plants in pollen mixture studies. In the second study, plants were grown initially in a greenhouse under two treatment combinations: NMPO and MPO. After all plants began to flower, they were placed in experimental arrays in the field. Under open pollination, pollen from MPO plants sired significantly more seeds than pollen from NMPO plants. This result was primarily attributed to increased flower production (and thus pollen production) in MPO plants. Thus, mycorrhizal infection and high soil P conditions can increase pollen quality (in vitro and in vivo pollen performance) as well as pollen quantity, thereby enhancing fitness through the male function. Anthocyanin production (used to determine paternity) also affected pollen performance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Science