The identity of black alder (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.) ectomycorrhizas was investigated using PCR/RFLP analysis of the ITS region from 16 morphotypes sampled at a 60-yr-old black alder stand. A comparison was made with restriction patterns from sporocarps of 28 mycobionts, of which 16 originated from the same stand, the remaining 12 came from two geographically distant alder stands. Eight of the mycorrhizal types could thus be identified, whereas eight mycorrhizal types remained unidentified. The identified mycorrhizas belonged to the genera Russula, Lactarius, Naucoria and Cortinarius. Four of the identified ectomycorrhizal types had identical PCR/RFLP profiles to corresponding fruit bodies from all investigated stands with no detectable intraspecific variation, despite the geographical distance of c.300 km between the sampling locations. By contrast, intraspecific variation between sporocarps from the different locations was detected in Paxillus rubicundulus, mycorrhizas of which were not found. The diversity of fruiting alder mycobionts at the main experimental plot only partly matched the diversity observed from mycorrhizas when comparing their PCR/RFLP profiles. The results are discussed regarding sampling techniques, PCR/RFLP analyses and ecological aspects.
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