Ectomycorrhizal identification in environmental samples of tree roots by Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy.
ABSTRACT: Roots of forest trees are associated with various ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal species that are involved in nutrient exchange between host plant and the soil compartment. The identification of ECM fungi in small environmental samples is difficult. The present study tested the feasibility of attenuated total reflection Fourier-transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy followed by hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) to discriminate in situ collected ECM fungal species. Root tips colonized by distinct ECM fungal species, i.e., Amanita rubescens, Cenococcum geophilum, Lactarius subdulcis, Russula ochroleuca, and Xerocomus pruinatus were collected in mono-specific beech (Fagus sylvatica) and mixed deciduous forests in different geographic areas to investigate the environmental variability of the ECM FTIR signatures. A clear HCA discrimination was obtained for ECM fungal species independent of individual provenance. Environmental variability neither limited the discrimination between fungal species nor provided sufficient resolution to discern species sub-clusters for different sites. However, the de-convoluted FTIR spectra contained site-related spectral information for fungi with wide nutrient ranges, but not for Lactarius subdulcis, a fungus residing only in the litter layer. Specific markers for distinct ECM were identified in spectral regions associated with carbohydrates (i.e., mannans), lipids, and secondary protein structures. The present results support that FTIR spectroscopy coupled with multivariate analysis is a reliable and fast method to identify ECM fungal species in minute environmental samples. Moreover, our data suggest that the FTIR spectral signatures contain information on physiological and functional traits of ECM fungi.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In forest ecosystems, communities of ectomycorrhizal fungi (ECM) are influenced by several biotic and abiotic factors. To understand their underlying dynamics, ECM communities have been surveyed with ribosomal DNA-based sequencing methods. However, most identification methods are both time-consuming and limited by the number of samples that can be treated in a realistic time frame. As a result of ongoing implementation, the array technique has gained throughput capacity in terms of the number of samples and the capacity for parallel identification of several species. Thus far, although phylochips (microarrays that are used to detect species) have been mostly developed to trace bacterial communities or groups of specific fungi, no phylochip has been developed to carry oligonucleotides for several ectomycorrhizal species that belong to different genera. RESULTS: We have constructed a custom ribosomal DNA phylochip to identify ECM fungi. Specific oligonucleotide probes were targeted to the nuclear internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions from 95 fungal species belonging to 21 ECM fungal genera. The phylochip was first validated using PCR amplicons of reference species. Ninety-nine percent of the tested oligonucleotides generated positive hybridisation signals with their corresponding amplicons. Cross-hybridisation was mainly restricted at the genus level, particularly for Cortinarius and Lactarius species. The phylochip was subsequently tested with environmental samples that were composed of ECM fungal DNA from spruce and beech plantation fungal communities. The results were in concordance with the ITS sequencing of morphotypes and the ITS clone library sequencing results that were obtained using the same PCR products. CONCLUSION: For the first time, we developed a custom phylochip that is specific for several ectomycorrhizal fungi. To overcome cross-hybridisation problems, specific filter and evaluation strategies that used spot signal intensity were applied. Evaluation of the phylochip by hybridising environmental samples confirmed the possible application of this technology for detecting and monitoring ectomycorrhizal fungi at specific sites in a routine and reproducible manner.
Project description:Mycorrhizas are the chief organ for plant mineral nutrient acquisition. In temperate, mixed forests, ash roots (Fraxinus excelsior) are colonized by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AM) and beech roots (Fagus sylvatica) by ectomycorrhizal fungi (EcM). Knowledge on the functions of different mycorrhizal species that coexist in the same environment is scarce. The concentrations of nutrient elements in plant and fungal cells can inform on nutrient accessibility and interspecific differences of mycorrhizal life forms. Here, we hypothesized that mycorrhizal fungal species exhibit interspecific differences in mineral nutrient concentrations and that the differences correlate with the mineral nutrient concentrations of their associated root cells. Abundant mycorrhizal fungal species of mature beech and ash trees in a long-term undisturbed forest ecosystem were the EcM Lactarius subdulcis, Clavulina cristata and Cenococcum geophilum and the AM Glomus sp. Mineral nutrient subcellular localization and quantities of the mycorrhizas were analysed after non-aqueous sample preparation by electron dispersive X-ray transmission electron microscopy. Cenococcum geophilum contained the highest sulphur, Clavulina cristata the highest calcium levels, and Glomus, in which cations and P were generally high, exhibited the highest potassium levels. Lactarius subdulcis-associated root cells contained the highest phosphorus levels. The root cell concentrations of K, Mg and P were unrelated to those of the associated fungal structures, whereas S and Ca showed significant correlations between fungal and plant concentrations of those elements. Our results support profound interspecific differences for mineral nutrient acquisition among mycorrhizas formed by different fungal taxa. The lack of correlation between some plant and fungal nutrient element concentrations may reflect different retention of mineral nutrients in the fungal part of the symbiosis. High mineral concentrations, especially of potassium, in Glomus sp. suggest that the well-known influence of tree species on chemical soil properties may be related to their mycorrhizal associates.
Project description:Wild edible mycorrhizal mushrooms are among the most appreciated and prized mushrooms in the world. Despite the cultivation of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) mushrooms has been a growing subject of study worldwide, it has been hampered by the mutualistic lifestyle of the fungi. Although not being obligate symbionts, most of the species of ECM mushrooms only produce fruit bodies in association with trees or shrubs. In the present study, we aimed at understanding certain aspects of the ecology of four different edible ECM fungi: Lactarius deliciosus, Tricholoma equestre, T. portentosum and Boletus fragrans. Despite having a broad distribution worldwide, these fungi inhabit also Mediterranean habitats with understories typically dominated by rockroses (Cistaceae). Studying the ecology of these mutualistic fungi as well as the interaction with these species of shrubs is not only scientifically relevant but also pivotal for the discovery of profitable cultivation protocols. We evaluated the compatibility of these ECM species with five species within Cistaceae family - Cistus ladanifer, C. psilosepalus, C. salviifolius, Halimium halimifolium and Tuberaria lignosa. Each species of fungi proved to be able to establish mycorrhizas with at least 2 different plants species but varied in their host range of the tested Cistaceae. The dissimilarity in terms of host specificity between some fungal species seemed to be connected with the phylogenetic distances of the fungi. A correlation between the colonization percentage of the root systems and the mycelial growth rates in pure culture was found. The connection of these traits might be an important key to understanding the ecological competitor-colonizer tradeoffs of these ECM fungal species. Altogether, our study reports unknown plant-fungi combinations with economical relevance and also adds new insights about the ecology of these species of ECM fungi.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Mycorrhizal fungi form intimate associations with their host plants that constitute their carbon resource and habitat. Alnus spp. (Betulaceae) are known to host an exceptional species-poor and specialized ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal community compared to other tree species, but the host-specificity pattern and its significance in terms of fungal diversification and speciation remain poorly documented. The degree of parallel speciation, host switching, and patterns of biogeography were explored in the historical associations between alders and three ECM taxa of Basidiomycetes: Alnicola (Agaricales), Alpova (Boletales), and Lactarius (Russulales). The aim was to develop an evolutionary framework on host specificity and diversification of Basidiomycetes in this highly specialized plant-fungus symbiosis. RESULTS: Sporocarps of Alnicola (220), Lactarius (61) and Alpova (29) were collected from stands of the four European alder species (A. alnobetula including the endemic subsp. suaveolens in Corsica, A. cordata, A. glutinosa, A. incana) in Western Europe (mainly in France and Austria), from 1995 to 2009. Specimens were morphologically identified to the species level. From these, 402 sequences of four DNA regions (ITS, rpb2, gpd, and the V9 domain of the mit-SSU rDNA) were successfully obtained and analyzed in addition with 89 sequences available in GenBank and UNITE databases. Phylogenetic analyses were conducted on all sequence data sets (individual and combined) using maximum likelihood reconstruction and Bayesian inference. Fungal phylogenies are compared and discussed in relation to the host, with a focus on species boundaries by associating taxonomic, systematic and molecular information. CONCLUSIONS: Patterns of host specificity and phylogenies of Alnicola and Lactarius suggest coevolution as a basal factor of speciation in relation with the subgeneric diversification of Alnus, possibly due to the very selective pressure of the host. A second element of the historical associations between Alnus and its fungal symbionts is a host-dependent speciation (radiation without host change), here observed in Alnicola and Alpova in relation with Alnus subgen. Alnus. Finally host shifts from Alnus subgen. Alnus to A. alnobetula are found in most lineages of Alnicola (at least four times), Alpova (twice) and Lactarius (once), but they do not represent such a common event as could be expected by geographic proximity of trees from the two subgenera. However, active or very recent host extensions clearly occurred in Corsica, where some fungi usually associated with Alnus glutinosa on mainland Europe locally extend there to A. alnobetula subsp. suaveolens without significant genetic or morphological deviation.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Epipogium aphyllum is a Eurasian achlorophyllous, mycoheterotrophic forest orchid. Due to its rarity, it is often protected, and its biology is poorly known. The identity and pattern of colonization of fungal associates providing carbon to this orchid have not been studied previously. METHODS: Using samples from 34 individuals from 18 populations in Japan, Russia and France, the following were investigated: (a) colonization patterns of fungal associates of E. aphyllum by microscopy; (b) their identity by PCR amplification of nuclear ribosomal ITS carried out on rhizome fragments and hyphal pelotons. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Microscopic investigations revealed that thick rhizomes were densely colonized by fungi bearing clamp-connections and dolipores, i.e. basidiomycetes. Molecular analysis identified Inocybe species as exclusive symbionts of 75 % of the plants investigated and, more rarely, other basidiomycetes (Hebeloma, Xerocomus, Lactarius, Thelephora species). Additionally, ascomycetes, probably endophytes or parasites, were sometimes present. Although E. aphyllum associates with diverse species from Inocybe subgenera Mallocybe and Inocybe sensu stricto, no evidence for cryptic speciation in E. aphyllum was found. Since basidiomycetes colonizing the orchid are ectomycorrhizal, surrounding trees are probably the ultimate carbon source. Accordingly, in one population, ectomycorrhizae sampled around an individual orchid revealed the same fungus on 11.2 % of tree roots investigated. Conversely, long, thin stolons bearing bulbils indicated active asexual multiplication, but these propagules were not colonized by fungi. These findings are discussed in the framework of ecology and evolution of mycoheterotrophy.
Project description:We describe the morpho-anatomical features of the ectomycorrhizas (ECMs) formed by Lactifluus rugatus on Cistus, a genus of about 20 species of woody shrubs typical of the Mediterranean maquis. The description of L. rugatus mycorrhizas on Cistus is the first ECM description of a species belonging to Lactifluus subgen. Pseudogymnocarpi. The ECM identity was verified through molecular tools. Anatomically, the characteristic of L. rugatus mycorrhiza is the presence of abundant, long "bottle-shaped" cystidia on mantle surface. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of milkcap mycorrhizas are acystidiate. This is the third Lactarius/Lactifluus mycorrhiza to have been described associated with Cistus, the others being Lactarius cistophilus and L. tesquorum. The phylogenetic distance between all these taxa is reflected by the diversity of the principal features of their ECMs, which share host-depending ECM features known for Cistus, but are otherwise distinguishable on the host roots. Comparison of Lactifluus rugatus ECM with those formed by L. vellereus and L. piperatus on Fagus reveals elevated intrageneric diversity of mycorrhizal structures. Such a diversity is supported by analysis of ITS sequences of relevant species within European Lactifluus species. Our study extends knowledge of Cistus mycorrhizal biology and confirms the informative value of mycorrhizal structures in understanding phylogenetic relationships in ECM fungi.
Project description:Background:Most species of the Russulaceae are ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi, which are widely distributed in different types of forest ecology and drive important ecological and economic functions. Little is known about the composition variation of the Russulaceae fungal community aboveground and in the root and soil during the growing season (June-October) from a Quercus mongolica forest. In this study, we investigated the changes in the composition of the Russulaceae during the growing season of this type of forest in Wudalianchi City, China. Methods:To achieve this, the Sanger sequencing method was used to identify the Russulaceae aboveground, and the high-throughput sequencing method was used to analyze the species composition of the Russulaceae in the root and soil. Moreover, we used the Pearson correlation analysis, the redundancy analysis and the multivariate linear regression analysis to analyze which factors significantly affected the composition and distribution of the Russulaceae fungal community. Results:A total of 56 species of Russulaceae were detected in the Q. mongolica forest, which included 48 species of Russula, seven species of Lactarius, and one species of Lactifluus. Russula was the dominant group. During the growing season, the sporocarps of Russula appeared earlier than those of Lactarius. The number of species aboveground exhibited a decrease after the increase and were significantly affected by the average monthly air temperature (r = -0.822, p = 0.045), average monthly relative humidity (r = -0.826, p = 0.043), monthly rainfall (r = 0.850, p = 0.032), soil moisture (r = 0.841, p = 0.036) and soil organic matter (r = 0.911, p = 0.012). In the roots and soils under the Q. mongolica forest, the number of species did not show an apparent trend. The number of species from the roots was the largest in September and the lowest in August, while those from the soils were the largest in October and the lowest in June. Both were significantly affected by the average monthly air temperature (r2 = 0.6083, p = 0.040) and monthly rainfall (r2 = 0.6354, p = 0.039). Moreover, the relative abundance of Russula and Lactarius in the roots and soils showed a linear correlation with the relative abundance of the other fungal genera.
Project description:The species structure of an ectomycorrhizal (ECM) community was assessed monthly for 15 months in the two horizons (A1 and A2) of an oak temperate forest in northeastern France. Ectomycorrhizal species were identified each month by internal transcribed spacer sequencing. Seventy-five fungal symbionts were identified. The community was dominated by Tomentellaceae, Russulaceae, Cortinariaceae, and Boletales. Four species are abundant in the study site: Lactarius quietus, Tomentella sublilacina, Cenococcum geophilum, and Russula sp1. The relative abundance of each species varied depending on the soil horizon and over time. Some species, such as L. quietus, were present in the A1 and A2 horizons. C. geophilum was located particularly in the A2 horizon, whereas T. sublilacina was more abundant in A1. Some species, such as Clavulina sp., were detected in winter, while T. sublilacina and L. quietus were present all year long. Our results support the hypothesis that a rapid turnover of species composition of the ECM community occurs over the course of a month. The spatial and temporal unequal distribution of ECM species could be explained by their ecological preferences, driven by such factors as root longevity, competition for resources, and resistance to environmental variability.
Project description:Studies of the ecological and evolutionary relationships between plants and their associated microbes have long been focused on single microbes, or single microbial guilds, but in reality, plants associate with a diverse array of microbes from a varied set of guilds. As such, multitrophic interactions among plant-associated microbes from multiple guilds represent an area of developing research, and can reveal how complex microbial communities are structured around plants. Interactions between coniferous plants and their associated microbes provide a good model system for such studies, as conifers host a suite of microorganisms including mutualistic ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi and foliar bacterial endophytes. To investigate the potential role ECM fungi play in structuring foliar bacterial endophyte communities, we sampled three isolated, native populations of Monterey pine (Pinus radiata), and used constrained analysis of principal coordinates to relate the community matrices of the ECM fungi and bacterial endophytes. Our results suggest that ECM fungi may be important factors for explaining variation in bacterial endophyte communities but this effect is influenced by population and environmental characteristics, emphasizing the potential importance of other factors - biotic or abiotic - in determining the composition of bacterial communities. We also classified ECM fungi into categories based on known fungal traits associated with substrate exploration and nutrient mobilization strategies since variation in these traits allows the fungi to acquire nutrients across a wide range of abiotic conditions and may influence the outcome of multi-species interactions. Across populations and environmental factors, none of the traits associated with fungal foraging strategy types significantly structured bacterial assemblages, suggesting these ECM fungal traits are not important for understanding endophyte-ECM interactions. Overall, our results suggest that both biotic species interactions and environmental filtering are important for structuring microbial communities but emphasize the need for more research into these interactions.
Project description:Ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi are important mutualists for the growth and health of most boreal trees. Forest age and its host species composition can impact the composition of ECM fungal communities. Although plentiful empirical data exist for forested environments, the effects of established vegetation and its successional trajectories on ECM fungi in urban greenspaces remain poorly understood. We analyzed ECM fungi in 5 control forests and 41 urban parks of two plant functional groups (conifer and broadleaf trees) and in three age categories (10, ?50, and >100 years old) in southern Finland. Our results show that although ECM fungal richness was marginally greater in forests than in urban parks, urban parks still hosted rich and diverse ECM fungal communities. ECM fungal community composition differed between the two habitats but was driven by taxon rank order reordering, as key ECM fungal taxa remained largely the same. In parks, the ECM communities differed between conifer and broadleaf trees. The successional trajectories of ECM fungi, as inferred in relation to the time since park construction, differed among the conifers and broadleaf trees: the ECM fungal communities changed over time under the conifers, whereas communities under broadleaf trees provided no evidence for such age-related effects. Our data show that plant-ECM fungus interactions in urban parks, in spite of being constructed environments, are surprisingly similar in richness to those in natural forests. This suggests that the presence of host trees, rather than soil characteristics or even disturbance regime of the system, determine ECM fungal community structure and diversity.IMPORTANCE In urban environments, soil and trees improve environmental quality and provide essential ecosystem services. ECM fungi enhance plant growth and performance, increasing plant nutrient acquisition and protecting plants against toxic compounds. Recent evidence indicates that soil-inhabiting fungal communities, including ECM and saprotrophic fungi, in urban parks are affected by plant functional type and park age. However, ECM fungal diversity and its responses to urban stress, plant functional type, or park age remain unknown. The significance of our study is in identifying, in greater detail, the responses of ECM fungi in the rhizospheres of conifer and broadleaf trees in urban parks. This will greatly enhance our knowledge of ECM fungal communities under urban stresses, and the findings can be utilized by urban planners to improve urban ecosystem services.