Vescular Arbuscular Mycorrhiza Diversity and Morphotypes, from Different Land Use of the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Salehe Twahir, Donatha Damian Tibuhwa


Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (VAM) are members of the kingdom fungi that constitute an important part of the savannah ecosystem of Serengeti National Park (SNP).  Three different land use types; indigenous woodland, natural grasslands with different degree of protection based on whether they are found outside or inside the park, and cropland were explored for the presence of VAM fungi. A cross relationship of the land use effect to the VAM morphotypes, diversity and abundance as well as soil chemical properties were evaluated. Roots of 80 plant species belonging to 20 genera were examined.  Morphological characterization of the VAM morphotypes and diversity were observed using the light microscope after root staining with Trypan blue in 0.05% w/v lactoglycerol preceded by fixation, tissue clearing, rinsing, bleaching and acidification. The results show that the dominant groups of VAM identified belong to Scutellospora, Glomus, Acaulospora, and Gigaspora genera. Species in the genus Scutellospora were dominant followed by species in Glomus and Acaulospora while the least were from Gigaspora. This difference in species dominance may be due to differences in soil parameters such as soil pH which ranged from 5.59-7.49 in different land use types. With respect to the morphotypes, the examined VAM fungi in SNP were found to exhibit two main morphotypes; the Arum and Paris type. Generally the Arum morphotype was dominant comprising of (57%) followed by the Paris that constituted 40% while the undifferentiated morphotype constituted 3%. Noticeably, the Paris-type was more appropriate for slow growing plants dominating in the grassland with scarce and less vegetation while the Arum were dominant in the woodland constituting the fast growing vegetation.This shows that Arum-type are very important to the fast growing forest and may be useful in reforestation compared to the Paris morphotype.

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