Seedlings of Carica papaya L. `Waimanalo' (papaya) were transplanted into 27-L containers filled with nonsterile composted landscape yard trimmings passed through a 1.3-cm screen. At transplanting, papaya plants were inoculated with either one of three different AMF communities or were not inoculated as control plants. Two of the AMF communities were from Arizona citrus orchards, and one AMF community was from an undisturbed western Chihuahuan Desert soil. After transplanting, papaya plants were grown for 4 months under well-watered conditions in a temperature-controlled (32 °C day/24 °C night) glasshouse (45% light exclusion). Control plants remained non-mycorrhizal. Total colonization of papaya roots by AMF communities ranged from 56% to 94%. Depending on mycorrhizal treatment, AMF arbuscules and internal hyphae were present in 30% to 60% and 20% to 24% of roots, respectively. Noticeably absent in papaya roots were AMF vesicles. Papaya height, trunk diameter, and leaf phosphorus concentration were similar for inoculated and control plants. Compared with control plants, papayas inoculated with AMF communities had about 20% less shoot dry weight and about 50% less root dry weight. Under nonlimiting conditions in an organic substrate, AMF communities did not stimulate papaya growth but rather appeared to function as a carbon sink.
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