Project description:The vast majority of plants obtain an important proportion of vital resources from soil through mycorrhizal fungi. Generally, this happens in exchange of photosynthetically fixed carbon, but occasionally the interaction is mycoheterotrophic, and plants obtain carbon from mycorrhizal fungi. This process results in an antagonistic interaction between mycoheterotrophic plants and their fungal hosts. Importantly, the fungal-host diversity available for plants is restricted as mycoheterotrophic interactions often involve narrow lineages of fungal hosts. Unfortunately, little is known whether fungal-host diversity may be additionally modulated by plant-plant interactions through shared hosts. Yet, this may have important implications for plant competition and coexistence. Here, we use DNA sequencing data to investigate the interaction patterns between mycoheterotrophic plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. We find no phylogenetic signal on the number of fungal hosts nor on the fungal hosts shared among mycoheterotrophic plants. However, we observe a potential trend toward increased phylogenetic diversity of fungal hosts among mycoheterotrophic plants with increasing overlap in their fungal hosts. While these patterns remain for groups of plants regardless of location, we do find higher levels of overlap and diversity among plants from the same location. These findings suggest that species coexistence cannot be fully understood without attention to the two sides of ecological interactions.
Project description:In general, plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi exchange photosynthetically fixed carbon for soil nutrients, but occasionally nonphotosynthetic plants obtain carbon from AM fungi. The interactions of these mycoheterotrophic plants with AM fungi are suggested to be more specialized than those of green plants, although direct comparisons are lacking. We investigated the mycorrhizal interactions of both green and mycoheterotrophic plants. We used next-generation DNA sequencing to compare the AM communities from roots of five closely related mycoheterotrophic species of Thismia (Thismiaceae), roots of surrounding green plants, and soil, sampled over the entire temperate distribution of Thismia in Australia and New Zealand. We observed that the fungal communities of mycoheterotrophic and green plants are phylogenetically more similar within than between these groups of plants, suggesting a specific association pattern according to plant trophic mode. Moreover, mycoheterotrophic plants follow a more restricted association with their fungal partners in terms of phylogenetic diversity when compared with green plants, targeting more clustered lineages of fungi, independent of geographic origin. Our findings demonstrate that these mycoheterotrophic plants target more narrow lineages of fungi than green plants, despite the larger fungal pool available in the soil, and thus they are more specialized towards mycorrhizal fungi than autotrophic plants.
Project description:Mycoheterotrophic plants (MHPs) growing on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) usually maintain specialized mycorrhizal associations. The level of specificity varies between MHPs, although it remains largely unknown whether interactions with mycorrhizal fungi differ by plant lineage, species, and/or by population. Here, we investigate the mycorrhizal interactions among Burmannia species (Burmanniaceae) with different trophic modes using high-throughput DNA sequencing. We characterized the inter- and intraspecific dynamics of the fungal communities by assessing the composition and diversity of fungi among sites. We found that fully mycoheterotrophic species are more specialized in their fungal associations than chlorophyllous species, and that this specialization possibly results from the gradual loss of some fungal groups. In particular, although many fungal species were shared by different Burmannia species, fully MHP species typically host species-specific fungal assemblages, suggesting that they have a preference for the selected fungi. Although no apparent cophylogenetic relationship was detected between fungi and plants, we observe that evolutionarily closely related plants tend to have a greater proportion of shared or closely related fungal partners. Our findings suggest a host preference and specialization toward fungal assemblages in Burmannia, improving understanding of interactions between MHPs and fungi.
Project description:Hundreds of nonphotosynthetic mycoheterotrophic plant species cheat the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. Their patchy local occurrence suggests constraints by biotic and abiotic factors, among which the role of soil chemistry and nutrient status has not been investigated. Here, we examine the edaphic drivers predicting the local-scale distribution of mycoheterotrophic plants in two lowland rainforests in South America. We compared soil chemistry and nutrient status in plots where mycoheterotrophic plants were present with those without these plants. Soil pH, soil nitrate, and the interaction between soil potassium and nitrate concentrations were the best predictors for the occurrence of mycoheterotrophic plants in these tropical rainforests. Mycoheterotrophic plant occurrences decreased with a rise in each of these predictors. This indicates that these plants are associated with low-fertility patches. Such low-fertility conditions coincide with conditions that potentially favour a weak mutualism between plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi according to the trade balance model. Our study points out which soil properties favour the cheating of arbuscular mycorrhizal networks in tropical forests. The patchy occurrence of mycoheterotrophic plants suggests that local soil heterogeneity causes the stability of arbuscular mycorrhizal networks to vary at a very small scale.
Project description:PREMISE:Difficulties in comparing extremely divergent features in fully mycoheterotrophic plants with those in closely related chlorophyllous plants have complicated attempts to reveal the evolutionary patterns and processes of fully mycoheterotrophic plants. Albino mutants of partially mycoheterotrophic plants, generally observed in Orchidaceae, have provided an ideal model for investigating the evolution of mycoheterotrophy within similar genetic backgrounds. In 2018, we found a putative albino population of Pyrola (Ericaceae). Here we aimed to reveal the identity of the albino pyroloid and confirm its fully mycoheterotrophic status. METHODS:To reveal the putative albino pyroloid's identity, we examined its morphology and sequenced its chloroplast DNA. In addition, we assessed the trophic status of the putative albino pyroloid by analyzing chlorophyll fluorescence, chlorophyll concentration, and natural 13 C and 15 N abundances. RESULTS:We identified albino individuals as P. japonica-otherwise a partially mycoheterotrophic species. We confirmed their albino status by their considerably lower chlorophyll fluorescence and concentrations than those of sympatrically occurring chlorophyllous plants. 13 C abundance in the albino individuals was significantly higher than in the green individuals of P. japonica. CONCLUSIONS:This first report of albino mutants from partially mycoheterotrophic species in angiosperms other than orchids will play a valuable role in further studies focused on mycoheterotrophy. For instance, their δ13 C and δ15 N values represent a reference for fully mycoheterotrophic plants in Pyrola. Our findings also indicate the strong dependence of some leafy Pyrola species on fungal C during their entire life cycle.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Mycoheterotrophic plants are considered to associate very specifically with fungi. Mycoheterotrophic orchids are mostly associated with ectomycorrhizal fungi in temperate regions, or with saprobes or parasites in tropical regions. Although most mycoheterotrophic orchids occur in the tropics, few studies have been devoted to them, and the main conclusions about their specificity have hitherto been drawn from their association with ectomycorrhizal fungi in temperate regions. RESULTS:We investigated three Asiatic Neottieae species from ectomycorrhizal forests in Thailand. We found that all were associated with ectomycorrhizal fungi, such as Thelephoraceae, Russulaceae and Sebacinales. Based on 13C enrichment of their biomass, they probably received their organic carbon from these fungi, as do mycoheterotrophic Neottieae from temperate regions. Moreover, 13C enrichment suggested that some nearby green orchids received part of their carbon from fungi too. Nevertheless, two of the three orchids presented a unique feature for mycoheterotrophic plants: they were not specifically associated with a narrow clade of fungi. Some orchid individuals were even associated with up to nine different fungi. CONCLUSION:Our results demonstrate that some green and mycoheterotrophic orchids in tropical regions can receive carbon from ectomycorrhizal fungi, and thus from trees. Our results reveal the absence of specificity in two mycoheterotrophic orchid-fungus associations in tropical regions, in contrast to most previous studies of mycoheterotrophic plants, which have been mainly focused on temperate orchids.
Project description:Partial mycoheterotrophy, the ability of plants to obtain carbon from fungi throughout their life cycle in combination with photosynthesis, appears to be more common within the Plant Kingdom than previously anticipated. Recent studies using stable isotope analyses have indicated that isotope signatures in partially mycoheterotrophic plants vary widely among species, but the relative contributions of family- or species-specific characteristics and the identity of the fungal symbionts to the observed differences remain unclear. Here, we investigated in detail mycorrhizal communities and isotopic signatures in four co-occurring terrestrial orchids (<i>Platanthera chlorantha, Epipactis helleborine, E. neglecta</i> and the mycoheterotrophic <i>Neottia nidus-avis</i>). All investigated species were mycorrhizal generalists (i.e., associated with a large number of fungi simultaneously), but mycorrhizal communities differed significantly between species. Mycorrhizal communities associating with the two <i>Epipactis</i> species consisted of a wide range of fungi belonging to different families, whereas <i>P. chlorantha</i> and <i>N. nidus-avis</i> associated mainly with Ceratobasidiaceae and Sebacinaceae species, respectively. Isotopic signatures differed significantly between both <i>Epipactis</i> species, with <i>E. helleborine</i> showing near autotrophic behavior and <i>E. neglecta</i> showing significant enrichment in both carbon and nitrogen. No significant differences in photosynthesis and stomatal conductance were observed between the two partially mycoheterotrophic orchids, despite significant differences in isotopic signatures. Our results demonstrate that partially mycoheterotrophic orchids of the genus <i>Epipactis</i> formed mycorrhizas with a wide diversity of fungi from different fungal families, but variation in mycorrhizal community composition was not related to isotope signatures and thus transfer of C and N to the plant. We conclude that the observed differences in isotope signatures between <i>E. helleborine</i> and <i>E. neglecta</i> cannot solely be explained by differences in mycorrhizal communities, but most likely reflect a combination of inherent physiological differences and differences in mycorrhizal communities.
Project description:The microbiological interactions of the roots of non-photosynthetic plants in South America have been scarcely explored. This study analyzes culturable fungal diversity associated with the mycoheterotrophic plant Arachnitis uniflora Phil. (Corsiaceae) in southern Chile, growing in two different understoreys of native (Nothofagus-dominated) and mixed forest (native, Cupressus sempervirens, and Pinus radiata). Rhizospheric and endophytic fungi were isolated, cultured, and purified to identify microorganisms associated with A. uniflora roots. We showed the different fungi associated with the plant, and that these distributions are influenced by the sampling site. We isolated 410 fungal strains (144 endophytic and 266 from the rhizosphere). We identified 13 operative taxonomical units from plants sampled in the mixed forest, while 15 were from the native forest. Rhizospheric microorganisms were mainly related to Penicillium spp., whereas some pathogenic and saprophytic strains were more frequent inside the roots. Our results have also shown that the fungal strains are weak for phosphate solubilization, but other pathways such as organic acid exudation and indole acetic acid production can be considered as major mechanisms to stimulate plant growth. Our results point to new fungal associates of A. uniflora plants reported in Andean ecosystems, identifying new beneficial endophytic fungi associated with roots of this fully mycoheterotrophic plant.
Project description:With a reduced need for photosynthesis, the plastome of parasitic and mycoheterotrophic plants degrades. In the tiny, fully mycoheterotrophic plant Sciaphila thaidanica, we find one of the smallest plastomes yet encountered. Its size is just 12,780?bp and it contains only 20 potentially functional housekeeping genes. Thus S. thaidanica fits the proposed model of gene loss in achlorophyllous plants. The most astonishing feature of the plastome is its extremely compact nature, with more than half of the genes having overlapping reading frames. Additionally, intergenic sequences have been reduced to a bare minimum, and the retained genes have been reduced in length both compared with the orthologous genes in another mycoheterotrophic species of Sciaphila and in the autotrophic relative Carludovica.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Mycoheterotrophic plants are one of the most difficult plant groups to conserve because they are entirely dependent on symbiotic fungi. Establishment of viable culture systems would greatly aid their conservation. We describe a simple culture system for the mycoheterotrophic orchid, Gastrodia pubilabiata, that does not require laboratory facilities. The orchid is symbiotic with leaf-litter-decomposing fungi. RESULTS:Gastrodia pubilabiata seeds were incubated in plastic boxes or glass bottles filled with leaf litter collected from the natural habitat of the species. Seed germination was observed after 35 days and seedling development followed. Fungal isolates from seedlings were identified as Mycenaceae (Basidiomycota), a leaf-litter-decomposing mycorrhizal fungus of Gastrodia species. CONCLUSION:Our method can be used to conserve endangered mycoheterotrophic plants associated with leaf litter-decomposing fungi efficiently, and can also serve as a model system for physiological and molecular studies of such plants.