31P nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy was used to study phosphate (P) metabolism in mycorrhizal and nonmycorrhizal roots of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L) and in external mycelium of the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus Glomus intraradices Schenck & Smith. The in vivo NMR method allows biological systems to be studied non-invasively and non-destructively. 31P NMR experiments provide information about cytoplasmic and vacuolar pH, based on the pH-dependent chemical shifts of the signals arising from the inorganic P (Pi) located in the two compartments. Similarly, the resonances arising from α, β and γ phosphates of nucleoside triphosphates (NTP) and nucleoside diphosphates (NDP) supply knowledge about the metabolic activity and the energetic status of the tissue. In addition, the kinetic behaviour of P uptake and storage can be determined with this method. The 31P NMR spectra of excised AM fungi and mycorrhizal roots contained signals from polyphosphate (PolyP), which were absent in the spectra of nonmycorrhizal roots. This demonstrated that the Pi taken up by the fungus was transformed into PolyP with a short chain length. The spectra of excised AM fungi revealed only a small signal from the cytoplasmic Pi, suggesting a low cytoplasmic volume in this AM fungus.