Jonathan Krohn wrote:As far as experimental testing goes, I don't think it would be too difficult to use radioactive nitrogen to track nitrogen movement in and between plants.
Jonathan Krohn wrote:This seems to have been inferred already, but I don't see why mycorrhizae couldn't transfer nitrogen directly from one live plant to another. Paul Stamets would take the view that mycorrhizal fungi are huge players in moving water, sugars, and minerals between plants as needed. It would make sense for them to handle nitrogen the same way, though I don't have any evidence to back that up.
Micky Ewing wrote:It would take more ingenuity to do a similar experiment with nitrogen. For starters, the fixation site is in the roots and so are the mycorrhizae. I don't know how you'd go about containing the radioactive nitrogen isotope where the N-fixing nodules are without also isolating the plant from its mycorrhizal partners. Maybe a bag around part of the root system, I suppose. Not as straight forward as the CO2 experiment, it seems to me, but a clever scientist could probably work it out.