The Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, Eprints Archive

Phosphorus nutrition of mycorrhizal plants. A mathematical model

Schnepf, Andrea (2005) Phosphorus nutrition of mycorrhizal plants. A mathematical model. Masters thesis, University of Oxford.

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Abstract

Arbuscular mycorrhizas, mutualistic symbiotic associations between plant roots and soil fungi, provide an important pathway for phosphorus nutrition of many plants. We are interested in understanding the mechanisms that control and influence this pathway by means of a mathematical model. The scope of this dissertation was to develop a spatially explicit and dynamic model for solute uptake by a mycorrhizal root. To do so, we developed approximate analytical solutions for solute uptake by a single cylindrical hypha based on the standard assumption that the soil can be regarded as continuum as well as based on the assumption that a hypha grows inside individual soil pores. There is up to an order of magnitude of difference between these solutions. This highlights the fact that experiments on the single hyphal scale are needed. Furthermore, we developed a model for fungal growth which we used for upscaling uptake by a single hypha to a fungal colony scale. The result was introduced as sink term in a classical single root uptake model. The differences in calculated total uptake between the different versions of the sink term were large. Our simulation results confirm that mycorrhizas provide the root with a big spatial advantage to access non-mobile solutes in soil. They also confirm that under certain conditions, mycorrhizal fungi may dominate solute uptake completely.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Subjects:A - C > Biology and other natural sciences
Research Groups:Oxford Centre for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Centre for Mathematical Biology
ID Code:220
Deposited By:Eprints Administrator
Deposited On:24 Mar 2006
Last Modified:20 Jul 2009 14:19

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