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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2005

Fungal communities in mycorrhizal roots of conifer seedlings in forest nurseries under different cultivation systems, assessed by morphotyping, direct sequencing and mycelial isolation

Menkis A, Vasiliauskas R, Taylor AFS, Stenlid J, Finlay R


Fungi colonising root tips of Pinus sylvestris and Picea abies grown under four different seedling cultivation systems were assessed by morphotyping, direct sequencing and isolation methods. Roots were morphotyped using two approaches: (1) 10% of the whole root system from 30 seedlings of each species and (2) 20 randomly selected tips per plant from 300 seedlings of each species. The first approach yielded 15 morphotypes, the second yielded 27, including 18 new morphotypes. The overall community consisted of 33 morphotypes. The level of mycorrhizal colonisation of roots determined by each approach was about 50%. The cultivation system had a marked effect on the level of mycorrhizal colonisation. In pine, the highest level of colonisation (48%) was observed in bare-root systems, while in spruce, colonisation was highest in polyethylene rolls (71%). Direct internal transcribed spacer ribosomal DNA sequencing and isolation detected a total of 93 fungal taxa, including 27 mycorrhizal. A total of 71 (76.3%) fungi were identified at least to a genus level. The overlap between the two methods was low. Only 13 (13.9%) of taxa were both sequenced and isolated, 47 (50.5%) were detected exclusively by sequencing and 33 (35.5%) exclusively by isolation. All isolated mycorrhizal fungi were also detected by direct sequencing. Characteristic mycorrhizas were Phialophora finlandia, Amphinema byssoides, Rhizopogon rubescens, Suillus luteus and Thelephora terrestris. There was a moderate similarity in mycorrhizal communities between pine and spruce and among different cultivation systems


Mycorrhizal fungi; Afforestation; Seedling cultivation system

Published in

2005, Volume: 16, number: 1, pages: 33-41
Publisher: SPRINGER