Decomposition of the leaf litter and mycorrhiza forming ability of silver birch with a genetically modified lignin biosynthesis pathway

Sanna-Kaisa Seppänen, Hanna-Leena Pasonen, Saara Vauramo, Jorma Vahala, Merja Toikka, Ilkka Kilpeläinen, Heikki Setälä, Teemu Teeri, Sari Timonen, Ari Pappinen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


"The effects of the transformation of a 4-coumarate:coenzyme A ligase (4CL) gene involved in lignin biosynthesis on the interactions between transgenic plants and soil microbiota were studied in silver birch (Betula pendula Roth). Although the genetic transformation did not lead to expected changes in wood chemistry, it had significant influence on root biomass and morphology. The transgenic lines had less root biomass and lower numbers of root tips than the wild-type birch. However, the transgenic lines formed normal ectomycorrhizas with Paxillus involutus (Batsch) Fr. and no differences between the transgenic lines and the wildtype birch were detected in the colonization by mycorrhizas in vitro. In a field trial, the decomposition of the transgenic and wild-type birch litter was equally rapid, and no marked differences were found between the transgenic lines and wild-type birch in total microbial biomass (SIR) or activity (basal respiration). The effects of the genetic transformation on the ergosterol content of the leaf litter were contradictory; the litter from one transgenic line had significantly higher ergosterol content and the litters from two other transgenic lines had significantly lower ergosterol content than the litter from wild-type birch. This study shows that the 4CL antisense transformation and the pleiotropic effects of the transformation on growth characteristics of birch did not disturb the formation of ectomycorrhizas with P. involutus and had no clear influence on the biodegradability of the leaf litter. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved."
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Soil Ecology
Issue number2-3
Pages (from-to)100-106
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 414 Agricultural biotechnology
  • 411 Agriculture and forestry
  • 118 Biological sciences
  • 219 Environmental biotechnology
  • 117 Geography, Environmental sciences

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