Natural 15N abundance in fruit bodies of ectomycorrhizal fungi from boreal forests


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The 15N natural abundance and N concentrations of fruit bodies from 70 species (23 genera) of ectomycorrhizal fungi found in boreal forests are presented. Large intraspecific and intrageneric differences were found, e.g. 8.3‰15N in the species Dermocybe crocea and 12.6‰ in the genus Cortinarius. In addition, significant differences in both δ15N and %N were found between different parts of fruit bodies, with cap material giving consistently higher values. Proteins and amino acids were enriched by 9.7±0.4‰ (mean ± 1 SE) relative to chitin, irrespective of the part of the fruit body examined. Chitin had δ15N values similar to that of plant hosts. The higher δ15N and %N values of the caps than of the stipes probably reflect a higher portion of proteins and amino acids in the caps. The δ15N of mycorrhizal fungi can be a function of the N species used (organic N, NH4+, NO3), the depth of soil at which the mycelium occurs, and metabolic fractionations. The metabolic fractionations, e.g. potential transaminations during the flux of N from the soil through the fungus to the plant, make it difficult, at present, to make inferences about sources of N based on δ15N values alone. No effect of sample drying temperature on δ15values of fungal material was detected.